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Farm, Food Systems and Thanksgiving at the Learning Center

For a moment you could have gotten Easter and Thanksgiving confused this past weekend at the Learning Center. “I found an egg!” a third-grade Girl Scout exclaimed excitedly. Together I was with a group of 12 girls and a handful of parents as they were meeting and learning about chickens and their role on farms and in our food processes. Their excitement heightened when they found out that they could hold or pet the chickens, something many explained to me that they had never had the opportunity to do before.


Girls from second to seventh grade gathered around tables in the Learning Center the past two weekends to learn more about farms, food systems and, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, how to make pumpkin and squash pies. The girls were brave enough to get their hands dirty-- from digging up potatoes to mashing squash to pouring molasses. With 25 girls per day, we managed to make eight pies with each group, meet all of the Learning Center animals, and go on vegetable and soil tours of the farm. From Learning Center eggs and honey to squash from the farm, together we followed our pie from farm to fork.


At the end of the day we gathered around in a circle to enjoy the fruits of our labor. The pies fresh from the farm and the oven were delicious. Together we reflected on parts of our day at the Learning Center and farm. When asked about a highlight of the day, the girls responded everything from “meeting Babe the horse” to “PIE!!!” to “watching Clara try to pick up a chicken!”


Reflecting now, I am very thankful to spend time on the farm and Learning Center in beautiful Caledonia, where for a day at a time I can focus my energy on learning and helping others learn about the bounty the farm can offer, and the pleasures that can be found in petting a goat or sharing a home-cooked dish together.


Happy Thanksgiving!


Clara Baker


Beloit College ’13 Duffy Intern at AOLC