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Cultivating love and stewardship down on the farm

By Jessie Crow Mermel, On Farm Educator & Communications Coordinator

Sharing the love of the farm

If you were asked to choose a place you could take someone you love, whom would you choose and where would you go?  8-year-old Amelia was asked that question at school last year.  Her beautiful response is pictured here.  Amelia would take her little cousin Jonah to Angelic Organics Learning Center. 

 

Jonah, who turns 3 this month, lives in Denver and loves animals, like Amelia.  Amelia doesn’t get to see her beloved cousin as much as she would like, but she knows that he would enjoy the farm and all the animals as much as she does.  She envisions taking him along to do animal chores: throwing the hay down from the barn loft to the goats, collecting eggs, and brushing Babe.

 

“I like learning about different animals and taking care of them,” Amelia told me during her 3rd year of day camp.  “My favorite animals are the pigs because they are messy!”

 

The animal chores are Amelia’s favorite activity on the farm, but they are just one of many things she loves about the farm.  She also loves milking the goats and making ice cream and cheese from the fresh milk. 

 

Farm Lessons

Amelia and her sister, Stella, are so enamored with Angelic Organics farm, they keep returning for more farm adventures through day camps and farm sleep-overs, like the Father’s Day camp-out.  In addition to having fun and learning about animals, the farm has had a deeper impact on the girls’ lives and their family.

 

Anna is mother to Amelia and Stella.  She explained the lessons her children have learned by being a part of a working farm:

 

“Being involved with the farm has made a large impact on our children. After the first summer attending camp, the children were focused on conservation. We were and are often reminded to turn off the faucets! Seeing, and being made to feel responsible for what is involved in growing and maintaining a farm has given them an appreciation for the work involved. In this day of instant gratification, through their involvement with the farm, the children have learned that patience and care is mandatory for reaping the benefits from a farm. The children have learned that being part of a group is so valuable when you have to work hard to accomplish something significant.  We believe that lesson also extends beyond the farm, but what a wonderful place to be introduced to the idea!”

 

Overcoming obstacles

Many children come to the farm having never experienced being around livestock.  Understandably, some of them are more tentative in handling the animals.  Anna has seen a profound growth in her children’s confidence in working with the animals.  She explains:

 

“Both children have become much more comfortable around animals and have learned that there is a great deal involved in their care. They are excited when they talk about what they did for the animals and what they were able to accomplish during their days at camp. Tonight, Amelia announced with pride at the dinner table that she had finally held a chicken and was so happy to have overcome that fear!” 

 

As an on-farm educator at Angelic Organics Learning Center, I am always moved to see children (and adults) overcome their fears and bond with the animals.  When children are given the opportunity to care for animals, plants and the soil on a community farm, they can establish a healthy connection to the rest of the natural world and begin to understand their responsibility for stewardship of the animals and the living earth.

 

We look forward to many more farm adventures with Amelia and Stella and hope that Jonah can soon come for a visit too!