On November 3-5, 2011, the Farm Based Education Association (FBEA) hosted their 5th Farm Based Education Conference at the idyllic Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont. This was a gathering of farmers, teachers, non-formal educators, food and farm advocates, community organizers and land conservationists, amongst others, all brought together by their collective passion: farm education. The setting could not have been better. Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit education center for sustainability, a 1,400 acre working farm, and a National Historic Landmark.
At Terra Nova we have worked with a group of high school students to convert a one and a half acre ball field into a working farm with a fully functioning CSA. Over the course of three years 25 students have worked on the farm taking ownership over the program and driving the goals of the farm. We have expanded the CSA to 30 shares, currently grow produce for our school district, and have partnered with a local community college. The work on the farm is closely tied to the students’ education. It has given many youth the opportunity to pursue individual interests and passions pertaining to the farm all while earning credit towards their high school education.