Recently I visited a place in West Lakeland, Minn. that made me want to have children just so I can take them there. Don’t worry, there will be no bun in the oven any time soon, but I might have to offer myself up as free farm labor just so I can weasel my way back onto these very special 60 acres.
The Children’s Farm is a licensed pre-school during the school year and offers various classes for little ones and their parents during the summer.
It’s also the home of a captivating woman named Nancy Jones and her husband. When this couple realized how much their children were learning living on this land, they decided to open the school. That was 1975. And now, second and third generations of children are spending precious days here.
This is a place where children run, not walk. It’s teeming with livestock. The kids help to feed the animals, but instead of asking them “who do you want to feed first?” the teachers instead say “who looks the most hungry?”
(Just kidding on that last one!)
Asking “who’s hungriest” is a small shift in wording that encourages children to think about their role on the farm as that of the caretaker, instead of seeing the animals as their entertainment. A lovely way for them to look at the Earth in general.
They plant vegetables (today it’s beans, but I hear potato day is pretty outstanding). They harvest the produce. And to the astonishment of their parents, they line up for seconds after they’ve already scarfed down their first portion of beans.
They keep the chickens safe and gather their eggs.
The climb into the hay loft.
And it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: they’re learning some pretty profound lessons along the way.
Do I sound like a Smucker’s commercial?
They are pleasant ads though, aren’t they? And toast and jam sounds pretty good right now.
A perfect snack to enjoy while you watch this to find out more:
Nancy Jones and her family are living life generously. Taking the gifts they’ve been given and sharing them with thousands of others. I think that’s pretty great. And it looks like the bovine gets the first snack today.
a few more shots from my time on the farm