The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

July 16, 2013

Area farm shows kids food's origins

Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star

---- —

A Walton family farm is providing campers a chance to learn more about their organic farmstead and have fun, an organizer said Monday. 

Art Farm Camp offers five, one-week sessions from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the farm of Kate and Dan Marsiglio — Stony Creek Farmstead — in Walton. The pasture-based farm raises a variety of animals.

Classes are either for students age 5 to 9, or 8 to 14, depending on the topic. In its second year, the summer program year started with Farmstead Friends the first week of July for the younger group. Eco-Discovery was held July 8 to 12 for the older children and Art in Nature for ages 5 to 9 is underway.

Half the day is spent learning about different aspects of the farm, Kate Marsiglio said. The other is spent working on art projects related to the lessons.

Most people are far removed from farming, and one of the goals is for children to know where their food comes from, she said.

The art show at the end of the week is an important part of the day, and gives parents a chance to show their support and be involved, she said.

This week’s program includes harvesting vegetables for lunch, making bread and butter, and homemade paper.

Next week’s program is for children ages 8 to14 and is titled “The Naturalist.” This will include building a survival shelter, stitching a leather journal and making tea from wild plants. The final week, July 29 to Aug. 2, for ages 5 to 9, involves milking a cow and feeding pigs, identifying wild plants and making wind chimes.

Marsiglio said she has a master’s degree in education, and briefly taught in a New Jersey public school when she realized that isn’t what she wanted to do. Her interests were more focused on the outside world, she said.

“I wanted to communicate with kids the things I cared about,” she said. The couple moved to their farm in 2005.

Jenna Rodriques, who will be a senior at Hartwick College in fall, is the camp director. She is a biology major who was a farm apprentice at the site last year, which included helping at the camp. She was glad to come back in her current role.

The work at Stony Creek is making her consider going for her masters in education. The program allows students, whether living on a farm, or with no experience, to be exposed to sustainable agriculture, she said.

What makes the day exciting for her is seeing “those little surprises” as children make discoveries. For instance, after coming from seeing pigs Monday, a camper came upon “this amazing fuzzy caterpillar” that caused everyone to stop and observe. 

Last week she helped conduct a science-based course where she helped students understand what they are seeing through a microscope lens.

“Seeing people so excited is a joy for me,” she said.

There are some openings in next week’s class, which is still below the limit of 15. Otherwise the classes for the year are filled, Marsiglio said. For more information contact, Art Farm Camp at info@stonycreekfarm.org or 865-7965.