Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Visit to Parkdale Farmers' Market with Devonshire Public School

On a beautiful, sunny day in October, 4th graders from Devonshire Public School went on a special field trip to the Parkdale Farmers’ Market. It was an excellent opportunity to talk about important food issues for urban consumers. Before heading out on their field trip, the students brain-stormed some questions to ask the people working at the market. These questions were based on their knowledge of organic and conventional production, the meaning of local produce, and the differences between vendors and producers at the market.

One of the great things about this field trip was its relevance to the students’ daily lives; they were actually able to walk from their school to the farmers’ market! Utilizing local resources, such as the Parkdale Farmers’ Market, in an educational context allows the students to see the connections between their daily lives and what they are learning about in school.

At the market, the students were full of great questions for people at every stall of the market. Walking around the market, I heard questions like “Is this garlic local? Where is it grown?” and “Do you use pesticides on your vegetables?”. The students’ enthusiasm in learning the answers to their questions was a testament to the importance of food education in our schools.

While at the market, the students bought produce to make a green tomato salsa and a Greek salad. When they returned from the market, they had the opportunity to use all of the ingredients that they bought to make snacks for themselves and visiting students from Connaught Public School.

It was definitely a very special trip, and another inventive way to integrate food education into schools. A big thanks goes out to Mr. Stephen Skoutajan at Devonshire for organizing the trip, and to all of the parent volunteers for their help!

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