Winter Farmers’ Markets: An Oasis of Community-Based Learning

Not Only Buying Local, But Learning Local

Is it cruel to show a farmers market in Amherst during the summer? Well the Amherst & Northampton Winter Farmers’ Markets are  learning oasis of in the winter months, reminding us of lush seasons on the horizon.

Winter farmers’ markets provide a fresh and colorful oasis during the winter months, reminding us that despite the blustery, snow drift-covered fields that surround us, farm-fresh foods of all kinds are still available. Connecting to the local food chain year round is not only healthy for your body, your family, and your community, but it can be educational as well! Exposing children to the wide array of foods available from winter farmers’ markets can help them to recognize that there are many different methods for growing and producing food while connecting to where there food comes from. Read the rest of this entry »

Parenting Green: Buy Local First

Greening Our Social Landscape

Our environment is more than the botany around us! When we admire our landscape we recognize that it also includes the views of markets, public spaces, and a bustling community of likeminded people engaged in businesses, and schools. All these things attract us as inhabitants. So when we think about preserving our environment by doing helpful things like recycling, river clean-ups, and using reusable bags, we can also consider efforts made in greening our social landscape as equally supportive.

We value face-to-face interactions. Getting our questions answered, being helped in person to find what we need, having conversations with real people about life, our kids growing up, and what’s going on around town. I want to introduce you to the concept of buy local first. If you live in the Pioneer Valley of Western MA you likely have heard this term, or even have picked up a copy of the Pioneer Valley Local First guide. It’s all about shopping local. You know why? Because when you make a purchase at a local business, significantly more money will recirculate into the community keeping it vibrant. There are 10 reasons (and really good ones, some that you might not even think of make a shift but they all do)! You can read them in more detail in Pioneer Valley Local First post, “Top 10 Reasons to Shop Local First!” If you’re more of a visual learner, you can click on this graphic to view more.

I wanted to highlight my favorite 3 and elaborate from my own experience: Read the rest of this entry »

Seed Capital Provides Return for Nature-Based Education

Seed Saving for Kids Provides Framework for Self-Sufficiency, Local Food Production &  Nature-Based Education

From seeds grows all kinds…food, education, self-sufficiency. The list goes on…

Spring’s first garden green can often seem like a miracle, but it’s really the fruit of fall’s labors – quite literally. As the growing season winds down, the chillier weather makes way for seeds – rather than endless home-grown foods – to become the center of farmers’ and gardeners’ attention. Learning about all things seed-like is a science exploration that can help children to deepen their understanding of where their food comes from, the anatomy and reproduction of plants, and the specific traits that distinguish one plant variety from another. Additionally, a look at the role that seed saving plays in modern farming and gardening can provide eye-opening insights for older children about the corporate monopolies that control the vast majority of the American seed (and pesticide) market. Read the rest of this entry »

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