New Jersey Ag News
Kids learn about farming from dirt to kitchen
By JANE PRIMERANO
MARKSBORO (Aug. 1, 2016) — Kids love to get dirty. Kids love to eat. Kids love to make messes.
An excellent way to make them happy for a week is a farm camp.
The Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm did just that for the fifth year in a row from July 18-22, bringing 26 children from age 5 through 12 plus several teenagers to help out the farm.
Gardener Smadar English said the idea for a farm camp came from a desire to create a deeper connection between the children and the farm. Many of the children come from families that have been members of the CSG for many years, although membership in the garden is not a requirement of enrolling a child.
Some live nearby, others come from as far away as Montclair, English said.
The Green Team, the teenagers, include some who have been at the camp for all five year.
The children harvested carrots, corn, beans, squash and tomatoes.
They learned about grinding corn and shelled dry beans. Then, in the kitchen, they made corn cakes which they topped with the beans.
They helped fry zucchini with basil and made herbal teas as well as jewelweed soap.
“They learn the medicinal properties of herbs,” English said.
Many of the children said their favorite part was harvesting the carrots.
Carsyn Giessuebel, 9, of Oak Ridge said she enjoyed making the tea bags and pickles as well as grinding the corn.
She told her grandmother she’d like to be an apprentice at the farm someday. Nicholas Branda, 12, of Knowlton, said he enjoyed harvesting corn and basil and cutting the cucumbers for the pickles.
Odin Repetti, 7, of Hampton enjoyed making the lemon and basil tea.
The children from towns close to the farm often have gardens at home.
That’s a little more difficult for those who live in more suburban areas.
“We try to do a garden,” Shoshanna Kreigsman, 10, of West Orange, said, “we have a basil patch and chives in fall and spring.”
On the final day of camp, the campers served lunch to their parents at the former farmhouse of Chan Moore, longtime volunteer at the garden, after singing a couple of camp songs.
English thanked the parents for letting their children participate.
She thanked the teenagers who help, saying camp is a team effort.
“Three hours a day is a little short,” she added.
Of the helpers and campers, she said, “It’s an honor to know they are going to be the next generation at the farm.”