Farm-to-School Program: One OSSE Intern’s Experience

By Erica Gavey, OSSE Intern for Wellness and Nutrition Services

Now that the weather is finally cooperating, I can’t think of a better way to spend these sunny days than enjoying the great outdoors; better yet visiting a farm! As a University of Maryland Dietetic Intern, I had the pleasure of attending a farm field trip this past week as part of OSSE’s Farm-to-School Program.  Partnering with DC Greens, we visited Calleva Farm located in the outskirts of Poolesville, MD. Calleva Farm lies on 165 acres of Montgomery County’s beautiful agricultural reserves and is home to many different crops and animals. The farm prides itself on sustainability and its educational programs offered to schools and families. I lucked out that during my visit to Calleva Farm, I was able to participate in and observe a school field trip with middle and high school students from Paul Public Charter School.

The day started with entertaining ice-breaker games in which the students were split into mini-groups and were given the fun task of coming up with a team name and sound. Once the teams introduced themselves, half of the group went further into the woods to enjoy the thrill of zip lining and a ropes course while the other half were able to experience firsthand what it takes to work on the farm. The students were able to get their hands dirty while planting and watering onions, pulling weeds, shoveling and laying soil and placing hay on top of freshly planted crops to protect them from unwelcomed weeds. The students and I were excited to be able to interact with the different animals Calleva has to offer, including a group of very friendly young goats. Lastly, we walked through the green house that was flourishing with fresh herbs and vegetables—students were encouraged to try the sugar snap peas to see how delicious they tasted!

Once the groups were done with their morning tasks, they enjoyed their lunch before switching rotations so that every student had the opportunity to participate in the farming workshops and team building workshops. Overall, the students approached the day with an overwhelming sense of eagerness and enthusiasm and Calleva Farm made sure to deliver an amazing experience to all who attended! I wanted to thank the staff and volunteers at Calleva Farm for all their hard work and allowing us to visit. I thoroughly enjoyed my day and learned a great deal about sustainability and farming techniques. I even learned that Calleva sells fresh vegetables to a local restaurant that my family and I frequent!

Cavella Farm Field Trip Gallery

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About Farm Field Trips

Farm Field Trips are a fun and exciting way for DC students to experience hands-on the ins and out of growing food. Trips cover a variety of topics including, but not limited to, biology, history, food systems and living a healthy lifestyle. Each farm brings their own specialty to the table and will work with teachers to address the education standards needed.

Register Your Farm or Organization to Host Farm Field Trips

List of Farm Field Trip Sites

Erica Gavey is a dietetics major at the University of Maryland. She has interned as a dietitian for the Wellness Nutrition Services Division of OSSE and has worked on programs related to the D.C. Healthy Schools Act.

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