Sunday, June 5, 2016

farm to classroom!

one of my favorite things to do with the girls is chaperone their school field trips. i am lucky to have a flexible schedule, so i can often go with them and shuffle my work around. every time i have these amazing conversations with the kids - whether we walk, take the city bus, or i drive - and i get to know the girls' classmates in new ways.
this field trip, the last one of the year, was to the farmer's market in oakland's chinatown. the kids had made little journals ahead of time that they used to ask the different vendors questions: when was this food picked? how does it grow? where is your farm? how far did it travel to get here? how much per pound is your fruit?

we took the city bus downtown:

after we got off the bus, we walked a few blocks down to the farmer's market. monrovia's teacher giving the kids the guidelines for their time at the market.

the cuties i was responsible for walking around the market.

some of the vendors were so generous with samples and answering the kids' repeated questions. they sliced open new pieces of fruit and vegetables, and explained how to cook or prepare some of the more unusual varieties. they cut deals with the kids when they didn't have quite enough money to buy something.

we lucked out because it's stone fruit season so there were peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, and pluots in abundance! and really? we live in california so we always luck out in the produce department.
the kids each had their journals to record the farmers' answers, $2 to spend on fruit and a reusable bag to bring it home in. (when they got back to the classroom they cut up all the fruit and made a huge fruit salad!) even though they were only buying fruit they still stopped to look at all the booths.

considering cabbage
tasting honey
how beautiful are these daikon?
i brought these home and my children devoured them! (they tasted a lot like radishes)
this elderly man was playing beautiful music in the midst of the market, and although he didn't speak english, he motioned to a couple of the kids and had them sit down, positioning their fingers so they could play. it was a beautiful cross generational-cultural-linguistic moment & one of the reasons i love oakland!
there was so much goodness in this field trip: taking public transportation (they were remarkably well behaved), kids learning about where the produce comes from, trying new foods, comparing different varieties of the same fruit, discovering what goes into farming, meeting the people who grow the food, and even finding out how early some of the farmers wake up to come to the market (one vendor said 1:30 am!) we even ran into canvassers from one of my favorite non-profits, planting justice and i made the kids listen to their spiel! 
each year i fall in love with a new class of kids, with all of their quirks and charm and drama. i feel incredibly lucky that we've chosen to fashion our life so that i can go on adventures like this (and that my vocation gives me the ability/flexibility to). i think because i get to go and i know lots of parents or caregivers don't, i try to make all the kids feel like they have a special grownup along with them who cares about them and wants to hear about their little lives. you really never know what they're going to say- sometimes they blurt out things that are hilarious "are you 99?" and sometimes it's heartbreaking, "my mom can't get a visa to live here with us so i get to fly to see her this summer."

i probably won't be able to always go on as many field trips as i have the last couple of years. i also realize that as my kids get older they won't want me all up in their business, talking to their friends, and sitting next to them on the bus. for now i'm savoring these moments, and remembering that this season won't last forever! ( fact it's speeding by! i can't believe my little ruby is finishing kindergarten. insert sobbing emoji here)

(ps speaking of one gave me any favorite summer recipes, so here's your second chance! ;))


  1. My new favorite

    1. ooooh thanks christine!!!! xoxooxoxox

    2. i love pesto and arugula and well, all five ingredients so thanks!

  2. Now I need to eat some berries and asparagus!

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