Thursday, June 10, 2010

From Farm to Fork

Last week, Matthew and I went on a terrific homeschool field trip to Fort Whyte Alive.  Fort Whyte is an environmental preserve dedicated to natural settings, environmental education, outdoor rec, and social enterprise.  We buy an annual membership there, because it's one of our favourite places to be as a family.

About thirty K-3 kids took part in the afternoon's activities, which highlighted how food gets from seed in the ground to our dinner plates.  There was a short presentation by staff, a game highlighting how many kilometres much of our food travels in order to arrive in our homes (approximately 2,000 kilometres on average!), a trek in the post-thunderstorm muck to feed apples to pasture-raised pigs (which we'll be enjoying on our plate in fall!), a look at the bison herd with their new-born calves, a chance to dig in greenhouse dirt to plant their own bean seed, a visit to the chicken coop to visit the little chicks, and a chance to dig in a small bin of worm-tunnelled compost.  The kids learned something and had a great time.

After the field trip was officially over, a few of us moms sat down outside for a while, while our boys all played in some hidden fort they claimed to have discovered.  I think this was my favourite part of the afternoon, as well as Matthew's.  Just hanging out together.  It's hard, sometimes, to find other homeschooling moms to relate to.  In this case, our boys seem to get along well, too.  Bonus.  I wish I'd thought to take pictures of the boys playing, but I didn' here are a few pictures of Matthew's group as they went about the field trip events.

Though our day at Fort Whyte was beautiful and warm, the two days prior to our visit saw the city receive more rain than I think I've ever seen in my life.  The view of the mud here, just outside of the pig pen, doesn't do justice to how our feet tended to get sucked in up to our ankles at times.  But who cares, right??  That's what rubber boots are for!

A few members of the bison herd, and a couple of calves sunning themselves.  The lone male bison stood apart from the rest...apparently, bison families operate as a matriarchy.

Planting a bean seed in a plantable, bio-degradable cup:

Rather pleased with himself...his own little bean:

Mmmm...a pasture-raised chicken dinner...just give this little half-grown guy a few months to grow yet.

A few of the kids huddled looking for worms in the little compost container:

"Mom, there really are worms in here!  Yay!!"

Found one:

All curled up, but no matter...still a worm:

It would be my kid who's the last to leave the compost pile...and the worms!

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