City Farmer: Bringing nature to the city!
“Children develop a sense of place when they connect with their local communities and outdoor environment.” (BC ELF, 2019)
The brand new BC Early Learning Framework (ELF), released at the end of September, highlights the importance of outdoor play and learning to child development. Finding ways to provide this for the children in your care can be challenging in the city, but City Farmer can help! The organization has been providing nature experiences to people right here in the heart of Vancouver (at 2150 Maple Street) for 40 years.
This week, WCCRC took not one but two groups of people to their wonderful urban agriculture garden. Experienced, friendly staff teach people how to grow food, compost waste and take care of their natural environment in the city. Miraculously, the fall sunshine shone bright for us on both days!
On Saturday 5th October, our Outreach Professional Development Coordinator, Vesna took 17 participants for a 2 hour workshop with Sharon from City Farmer. The care providers discovered how to plan City Farmer trips with young children and were introduced to what’s on offer at the garden, including composting, herbs, vegetables, plants, fruits, trees, mason bees and silkworms.
Then on Wednesday 9th October (Vancouver’s coldest in almost 60 years!) our CCRR Consultants Sandy and Kirin took a group of family child care providers and the children that they care for.
Despite being the coldest day on record, many of our Family Child Care centres attended a great field trip to the City Farmer Garden organized by VCCRR this week. To start off, we had such a beautiful sunny day, the air was crisp and it was wonderful to see the many colours of fall. Everyone was dressed for the weather and we were all eager to play and learn.
Sharon from City Farm took one group of children to explore the garden. The children were able to use all their senses to see, touch, smell and taste some of the herbs. They were able to identify some plants were soft like feathers and some were sharp like needles. They saw the pizza oven and went in the greenhouse to see what was growing in there.
While that was happening, another group of children were with Luisa who was talking about worm composting. Luisa explained about the nature of the worms and invited all the children to build a worm home. Luisa put some dried straws and flowers in the container and asked the children to help her tear some "spaghetti paper" to add to the box. The children had so much fun ripping the newspapers and were so proud to make such a cozy home for all the worms. All the children had the opportunity to hold the worms and they were able to get a closer look as they wiggled in their hands.
Best of all, City Farmer is open to everyone! Children and adults alike can delight in a visit to the garden and explore the worlds of a variety of plants, trees and insects. Anyone can book a tour with an experienced staff member or just pop in. Check out https://www.cityfarmer.eco/ for more info!
Resources on outdoor play and learning are available from the Westcoast Early Learning Library (WELL). The library is open Wednesday & Thursday 10am-8pm and Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm.