Touring the garden and shelling peas (photo credit: Ann Hines)

Local Urban Farm hosts Educational Tour

The Howell Valley second graders enjoyed a tour of local urban farm, Mini Mosaic Acre. "My students were able to experience first-hand many things that we had read about over the last two weeks at summer school. It made a big impact on them when things they had read about came to life, such as making butter from cream, scratching a pig, or dodging a pile of manure!" laughed their teacher, Jessica Dixon. "We had been learning about the ways pioneers prepared and traveled on the Oregon Trail and how families would homestead once they arrived to their new farm."
The students began by touring the orchard and garden. After shelling their own pea pod and tasting its contents, they were encouraged to visualize how much work goes into creating a bag of frozen peas. The care of each heritage breed and miniature animal was described, and what that animal provides in return. They enjoyed petting the Nigerian miniature goats, fluffy Silky chickens, and friendly, grunting Kunekune pigs. "It gave my students an up-close and personal experience with animals that give us food. The kids loved all the animals." said Dixon. 
After their tour, they were treated to a discussion of food preservation techniques, and an opportunity to see and touch antique implements used in times past. They purchased freshly dried apple slices and tiny bottles of honey grown by the thousands of bees living on Mini Mosaic Farm. "Several of my students had been picking flowers for me on the playground. From our learning session about bees they realized they were picking the bees’ food and decided we should leave those for the bees. My students loved eating the honey."
Mini Mosaic owner Becky Bradley said her passion is to support local farmers and promote Missouri agriculture. "Missouri is a food desert. We do not grow enough food in this state to feed ourselves." She would like to see agriculture given its proper place in the conversation about careers and workforce conversations.  "Not enough land in Missouri is being farmed. Most of the farming is done by older generations, and school kids today are not encouraged to seek career paths in agriculture. While many popular fields leave kids with college debt and hard-to-find positions, agricultural jobs are wide open. Missouri has the need and the resources for more farmers. We need to give farming due respect and encourage this trade in students." She hopes tours of her farm will be a step in helping kids understand what's involved in bringing food to the tables of Missourians, and spark their interest in agriculture.
Dixon summed it up, "Our field trip was amazing. Mr. and Mrs. Bradley are truly teachers at heart, that have a desire to share their knowledge with our youth of today. Mini Mosaic Acre may be tiny, but it packs a mighty educational punch!"

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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