What is From Our Farms?
From Our Farms is a fun-filled project that teaches children and their families about the importance of good nutrition, the value of local agriculture and the role farms play in enriching our communities and the environment.
Fun is the Key Word
The activities in From Our Farms are designed to be fun! (They're also educational.) They use exploration and adventure to teach children about food, nutrition and the farm.
Activities highlight hands-on learning and family literacy projects to reach children. From Our Farms activities also help prepare children for school by emphasizing math, reading, writing and cognitive development.
Any way you look at it, From Our Farms is a great way for families, classrooms and groups to spend time together, learn together and explore together.
What's It All About?
In the Library
Children (and their parents) learn about food, nutrition and the farm with From Our Farms learning boxes, available through nine local libraries. Learning boxes are themed learning kits. They include a variety of "goodies" for families to try together--games, puppets, audio and/or videotapes, puzzles and farm- and food-focused storybooks. Click here to find a From Our Farms library in Gloucester County (155k PDF).
Boxes also include family fun pages and activity sheets, developed by Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE). Fun pages and activity sheets feature a series of lessons and activities for parents and children to work on at home, along with the storybooks and other materials in the boxes.
Parents use the boxes with children at home, where they read stories and play games that teach about food, nutrition and agriculture. Then, they complete a series of lessons and hands-on activities outlined in the fun pages and activity sheets. (They grow vegetables; visit local farm stands and grocery stores; count/sort fruit; taste and compare different varieties of tomatoes; and so forth.)
At School & in Childcare Centers
From Our Farms activities are great complements to classroom learning, school preparedness and pre-school enrichment programs. They're perfect for expanding and enhancing lesson plans, and they make ideal take-home projects for parents and kids to work on together.
The activities featured in From Our Farms target 3- to 8-year-old children. Many activities coordinate with children's food- and farm-focused storybooks, videos and games. Others can be conducted independently. Most activities emphasize school preparedness, so they're great complements to lessons in science, health, math, reading and language arts.
In schools... Teachers use From Our Farms learning boxes and activities in the classroom to expand existing lesson plans or create new lessons. Take-home activities supplement classroom learning and reinforce the From Our Farms experience.
For childcare providers. Specially designed lesson plans and take-home activities coordinate to offer a comprehensive From Our Farms learning experience.
Special Programs & Workshops
RCE presents hands-on programs and workshops called activity days at local schools, childcare centers and libraries throughout the year. They are open to all Gloucester County families.
Activity days incorporate hands-on activities to teach children and parents what foods are produced locally; how vegetables, fruit and animal products are grown; and how to select, use and prepare agricultural products (fruits, vegetables and dairy foods).
What Does From Our Farms Cover?
From Our Farms focuses on vegetables, fruits and dairy cows. Educational messages emphasize how foods are grown or produced, local farms that grow/raise the commodity, the nutritional value of the commodity and the role it plays in a healthful diet, where to find the commodity, and how to select and prepare the commodity.
All messages are kid-focused, with "FYI" tidbits on agriculture and nutrition included for parents or educators. From Our Farms is designed to be a fun-filled way to introduce kids to food, nutrition and the farm--making them more familiar with and more likely to try fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods. They'll even learn which fruits and vegetables are grown locally, in Gloucester County and throughout New Jersey.