Local Agriculture: Spring on the Farm
Farm life follows the path of the seasons. In March and April, it’s time to start planting leafy greens and root crops as one prepares for the warmer months ahead. It is also a time of new life on a farm when animals are born. At living history museums such as Old Sturbridge Village and the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA, folks can visit baby animals each spring such as newborn lambs, calves, and piglets!
Curious to know more about some of the historic heritage breeds at history museums such as Old Sturbridge Village? On this web page you can explore the different breeds that OSV raises that were common in the 19th century: www.osv.org/animals.
The most place-based of local baby animal-learning resources in Western Massachusetts are of course our local farms, many of which allow visitors to meet the animals they raise and rely upon both for food and for farm tasks. There are many different farm animals raised in Western Massachusetts, and each farm has a different animal-related story and history to tell. A dairy farm can teach families about raising cows for milk and how milk was once stored, while a fiber farm’s focus may be on how to raise a healthy family of sheep and rabbits that generate the best fiber. In addition to learning about the role of animals in farming, a farm visit can teach us that not all fascinating animals are exotic – there are plenty of species found close to home that are every bit as fascinating as those found across an ocean. Using CISA’s Fun on the Farm petting zoo finder, look for a farm near you that allows visitors to meet baby farm animals.
Many books have been written about life on a farm and seasonal living. Check out the following books at your local library to gain a deeper appreciation for farm life and the experiences farmers endure when caring for their land and the food they grow for their communities.
- The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love by Kristin Kimball
- Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead by Jenna Woginrich
- Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: Lessons from a 10 Mile Diet by Vicki Robin
[Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield]
Download our March/April edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.