Sandy Spring Friends School

 

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Fall 2023 Farm Update

Fall 2023 Farm Update

What a busy fall we had at the SSFS Educational Farm! Each division had an exciting start to the year with our farm program. In the LS, we rolled out individual raised garden beds for each class and opened up a centralized gathering space for instruction and lessons. Giving students a space to congregate really increased their focus and readiness to learn. 

SSFS Farm Blog - LS Raised Bed

Photo: 4A working to cover their garden after planting lettuces, radishes, arugula, mizuna, and scallions

Middle Schoolers had the opportunity to be a part of the farm through a weekly Farm Elective class. Even with their very limited time at the farm, they were able to prepare an 80 foot row, plant it with lettuces, run irrigation, cover them to protect them from colder weather, and care for them over the fall. They have some beautiful heads of lettuce out there. 

SSFS Farm Blog - Lettuce

Photo: MS Deer Tongue Lettuces

7th grade came out to the farm for a day to learn about some of the sustainable land use practices we utilize here at SSFS and to help winterize portions of the farm. They learned about how we compost, how our solar fields are now grazed by sheep rather than being mowed, and how to clear a garden bed of weeds and spent crops. We also found some huge spiders, very small snakes, and frogs that hatched in the spring. It was a great day and it was a lot of fun connecting some of their science classes with hands-on experiences right here on campus.

SSFS Farm Blog - MS Clearing Raised Beds

Photo: 7th Graders Clearing out Garden Beds

Finally, the US had a great season of Farming for Fitness, an “intramural sport” for students wanting something other than sports. While farming is always at least moderately active, this year, we really brought the fitness part of the class with daily chicken wrangling. After a whole day of being chased by LS kids, the chickens were motivated to not be caught. Our US farmers had to work together and often needed to full on sprint to catch some of the faster chickens. 

SSFS Farm Blog - US Farming for Fitness

Photo: Our farmers triumphantly pose with some of the SSFS chickens, which were all hatched in the spring by SSFS 4th graders.

The most exciting part of Farming for FItness this year was that the class had its own field to work with. The two class sections planted a total of 160 feet of lettuces, 80 feet of arugula, 80 feet of tatsoi (an asian green similar to bok choi in flavor, but more like spinach in appearance), and 100’ of garlic. They also put in a winter cover crop of winter rye on the portions of the farm that were not being used by any division. On the final days of FfF, students harvested the greens they wanted to take home and share with their families. It was a great success, and I’m already looking forward to the Farming for Fitness spring season.

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