November 25, 2015

The Learning Farm

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The Learning Farm is a tech-forward agriculture and life science learning organization with a goal to have multiple locations to support a deeper understanding of food systems and the natural world for all children around the globe.  The Learning Farm will be a place where children and their families can immerse themselves in the study of living things, agriculture, and food, as well as have opportunity to brainstorm and discuss practical solutions to the challenges facing the planet with regard to how we grow food.  It is where children can become more than just consumers when it comes to food.  This is where they learn where food comes from: how it’s grown, how the land and plants can be cultivated for optimal nutrition, land and crop sustainability, how fruits and vegetables are harvested and distributed, gleaned and sustainably farmed, how Planet Kid Juice is healthfully processed and put on the market, and most fun of all, how delicious the foods they prepare in the culinary portion of the program are when they are served to their families and new friends they’ve met at the Learning Farm.

This is where kids can get their hands dirty and explore, and then after lunch, put on lab coats and learn about the chromatography of beverages and the science behind composting.  Here, students will learn the meaning and value of bio-diversity: how animals — cows, horses, birds – interact beneficially with orchards, wildlands, woodlands; and how row crops – vines, root veggies, grains – do well right next to bush fruit and berries; and how insects and other beneficials – microbes, mycrorysomes, spongi – are their friends, all going in together to support a healthy and vibrant natural world and great food.

 

Tiny House Learning Community

The Tiny House Learning Community is a place for gathering, cooking, relaxing, discussing, playing, eating and having fun. It is a place for learning and creating community.  Each of the ten (10) visiting families hosted during each program week will have a tiny house of their own, as living space for the entirety of their week-long stay.  This ecovillage community will act as basecamp for all visiting families.  It will be designed with the SMART / LEED building model and will be comprised of energy-independent modules in a semi-rural setting.  There will be a communal gathering area in the middle of the circle of homes and a large commercial  indoor/outdoor kitchen for food prep done for/by the group.

Builder/Contractor/Design Licensing Options:

Binishells (http://www.binishells.com/project/project5.html)

Bellomo Architects (http://bellomoarchitects.com/projects.html#modular)

Sett Studio (http://inhabitat.com/sett-studio/)

Support:  Frey Vineyards, the first organic and biodynamic winery in the U.S. (Luke Frey)

 

Learning Farm Curricula at Cornell University, Agriculture and Life Sciences

  • Composting labs
  • Soils analysis – field & lab
  • Alternative energy for farms demo and lab
  • Planting & Harvesting
  • Organic pest control methodology lab
  • Orchards – fruit picking, Berry picking, Herb harvesting
  • Animal husbandry – horses, cows, chickens, sheep
  • Botanical Garden exploration – naturalist tour
  • Fishery and streams biology exploration
  • Wildflower sketching craft
  • Woodlands exploration: What do you hear?: The art of listening / Mushroom identification seminar
  • Farm machinery demo & quiz
  • Build a weathervane craft
  • Farm architecture drawing craft and 3-d model shelter making
  • Food waste minimization methodology field lab & at-home recommendations lab
  • Grape stomping & Hand churning
  • Processing labs, Chromatography labs
  • Culinary arts – outdoor cooking demo and meal making and serving, ice cream churning, bread making, cheese making, farm to table kid video, giving thanks
  • Product Marketing, advertising, Branding lab and craft, social media for small farms for tweens & teens
  • Locate your nearest small farm or local farmers market – take-home geo-cache exercise