Aric McBay Author, farmer, organizer.

12Aug/15Off

Column: Rad kids a groundbreaking new farm camp

Aric McBay - Out Standing in Our Fieldmcbay farm camp with sheep

At the end of August our farm is hosting a new farm camp for kids, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Rad Kids Farm Camp is the project of Marie Bencze, who spent years working on farms before starting her own farm education project, Rad Kids: “Participating in teaching the next generation about where food comes from is my great passion, and what better way than to bring children to a farm for summer camp!”

The camp is for children aged 6-10 and will take place at our farm on Howe Island. It will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Aug. 24-28.

Marie told me she chose our farm in part because of the diversity of work happening here. We have a large Community Shared Agriculture operation, which grows two acres of vegetables, as well as an organic dairy.

“There are rolling pastures, woods, cultivated gardens, baby calves, chickens, a wonderful farm dog,” said Marie. “It’s the perfect setting for a day camp whose theme is the ecology of a farm.”

Activities will include seeding, weeding & harvesting vegetables, feeding calves, nature walks, arts and crafts, and other food and farm-themed games and activities. The kids will get the best of farm life without having to ride a school bus for three hours a day, or get up to clean stalls early in the morning.

The suggested cost of the camp is $250, with a sliding scale of $175-375. The sliding scale model—which we also use for our vegetable CSA—makes the camp more accessible by allowing parents and guardians to choose what they can afford to pay for their child to experience the camp. Because the camp takes place here on Howe Island, the fee includes transportation from downtown Kingston.

In the future, Marie hopes to expand the camp and offer multiple weeks in the summer for different age groups. “There is a lot of room to grow this summer camp, and I look forward to expanding to be able to include many more age groups.”

Rad Kids will also soon be offering in-class workshops in elementary schools in Kingston, and Marie hopes to expand into offering resource kits with local farmers by the spring of next year. Marie is excited: “It’s a new project, full of budding potential with the overall goal of rooting kids in agriculture.”

There will be two adults supervising and a maximum of ten children. To learn more about the Farm Camp, find Rad Kids on Facebook, or email Marie at radkidsradkids@gmail.com.

Aric McBay is a farmer and author. He lives and works at a mixed family farm with a dairy herd and a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) vegetable operation. For more about the vegetable CSA, visit rootradicalrows.com.

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