Cool Valley Field Trips by Kevin Rysted

The farm has felt the weight of many feet this autumn, as hundreds of students have left their footprints in the paths of our fields.  However, in a few days in late October there was an impact left by roughly 170 students that exceeded any expectations.  Through an ongoing partnership with the Ferguson-Florissant School District, EarthDance has seen many local school-age youth visit the farm.  Through the cultivation of this thriving relationship, we were able to welcome every student of Cool Valley Elementary to walk our rows and eat our produce in one week!  In addition to sharing information and amazing experiences with the students, we were also able to really assess what the students knew about food systems through surveys before and after the field trips.  Even further, Cool Valley Elementary invited EarthDance to lunch one day where the salad bar featured some of our vegetables and every student had the opportunity to sample pea shoots grown by the 4th and 5th graders!  The connection the students had between the food they choose to eat in the fields and at their lunch tables was gleaming with newfound awareness.  So many students tried vegetables they’d never eaten before because they recognized my face and they remembered seeing the vegetables growing.  These experiences were truly inspiring to witness, and would never have happened without the immense support of the Cool Valley Elementary staff!