Last month at Rocklands Farm in Poolesville MD, we convened 30 farm-based educators from across the region, both rural and urban, to network, share ideas, and learn from the expert farm-based educators at Shelburne Farms in VT and Soilful City in DC.
Why is a field trip to a local farm important for students in DC? Farm field trips are not just about nutrition, plant science, or environmental stewardship; they are about self-reliance, social justice and access to land. On farm field trips, students learn to unpack the layers that have contributed to the construction of our unjust food system and begin to imagine what a just one might look like.
DC is a city that supports food education at the highest levels, including grants to support farm field trips and setting up school gardens. Since 2012, our Farm to School Approved Program ensures that teachers have the support they need to choose rigorous farm field trips and helps farms market their programs to teachers. Now, our annual Farm-Based Educator Workshop has a created a network for these farmers to connect and have access to best practices from across the region and country as they develop strong education programs that explore all the issues plaguing our food system today.
We are thrilled to see so many farmers stepping up to the plate to not only grow the food that feeds us, but teach the future decision makers and consumers about how to support the growth of a healthy, more just food system.