Last week, 10 rising 7th and 8th grade Habersham County students from Wilbanks, North Habersham, and South Habersham Middle School enjoyed a week of Farm & Food Camp where they learned about different aspects of the food system. NEGA Farm to School FoodCorps Service Members, Ian Rossiter and Sumer Ladd, planned and organized the camp as well as held positions as camp counselors. Campers visited farms, restaurants, and community sites including: Chattooga Belle Farms, Glory Seeds Farm, Greenway Community Garden, Habersham Cannery, Liberty Farms, Mtn Fresh Dairy and Creamery, Sylvan Falls Mill, The Copper Pot, and Yonah Farms.
Each day of camp had a different itinerary with a wide range of actives from a cooking class, to learning to make and can blackberry jam, to learning about different types of plants at one of the farms. On the first day each camper bound and decorated their own journal so they could write journal entries about their favorite parts of camp and what they learned. Thanks to such a wide variety of farms in our region, campers were able to learn about different types of farming. At Mtn Fresh Dairy and Creamery they learned about the process of milk production from the baby cow, to the udder, to the bottle. At Glory Seeds Farm they had a lesson on milking goats, bee keeping, and shelling corn along with taste tests of each product. Campers also had a special opportunity to visit Yonah Farms, the only coffee bean farm in the United States besides those in Hawaii.
While seeing where food comes from, campers were able to make connections with what they see in the grocery store by participating in a cooking class with Chef Jeff Morris from The Copper Pot and making and canning blackberry jam. Chef Jeff let camp come to his restaurant kitchen where most campers saw their first commercial kitchen. They made pizza with fresh pizza dough and vegetables. Chef Jeff taught campers how to toss pizza dough (starting them off with a wet hand towel, of course), and talked to them about different cooking practices. Campers also visited the Habersham Cannery where they washed, mashed, cooked, and canned fresh blackberries from Jaemor Farms to make jam with the help of Habersham Co Ag teachers, Amy Crump and Kasey Moody.
Camp was a great success with kids learning new farming and cooking practices as well as doing social activities such as scarecrow making, a blueberry picking contest, and a BBQ! The camp was developed by Habersham County’s Farm to School Leadership Team. It was a week where community volunteers, community partners, and site hosts joined together to show how It takes a community! is an integral part of a successful farm to school program.