Programs


Education is our biggest crop.  Throughout the year, there are many ways for you to join us in exploring food and farming. From one-off animal programs to year-long experiences there is something for everyone and opportunities for a variety of schedules. All our programs happen rain or shine and offer a great chance to get up close and personal with the life of the farm. 

See below to view our programming or click here to view the Natick Common Guide for more information about the farm and other happenings in town.


Forest Gnomes (ages 3-5)

Our year-round Waldkindergarten program is for pre-school-aged children that takes place in the forest: a classroom without walls, changing with the seasons. With an emphasis on seasonal rhythms, physical and social development and personal growth, the Forest Gnomes will help little ones to be more in sync with themselves and the natural world.

The Forest Gnomes is a year-round, two-day program. Nature is our best teacher and Gnomes are outside in all weather, through the Fall, Winter, and Spring. With a minimum amount of structure, Free Play is the order of every day in the woods where exploration and imagination guide the activities of the Gnomes.

  • 7:1 student to teacher ratio
  • Gnomes must be 3 years old by June 15th of the year they enroll
  • Monday/Wednesday Session, Tuesday/Thursday Session
  • All programs run 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
  • Forest Gnomes run in sync with the academic calendar from September to June
  • 2018 Program Fees: $4,050 for Monday/Wednesday, $4,200 for Tuesday/Thursday.
  • Registration for 2019/2020 Gnomes opens in January 2019.
  • We highly encourage attending a Program Open Day and the Parents Open House.
Information Night (for Parents & Guardians only; please leave your child(ren) at home)
January 24, 2019
7:00-7:45 pm. This is a chance to meet current Gnome families and the Gnome Teachers to ask questions and hear more about the Gnome experience. This evening is especially helpful if you don’t think you can make an open program day.
RSVPs are not necessary but reach out to [email protected] with any questions.

Open Program Days: A chance to see the Gnomes in action and ask questions of the Teachers. Feel free to bring your potential gnome along but child attendance isn’t mandatory. The Open Program Day is for parents to really get a sense of whether or not this is a good fit for their kid.

  • Wed Nov 7, 2018 9:45-10:30 am
  • Wed Dec 5, 2018  9:45-10:30 am
  • Wed jan 9, 2019  9:45-10:30 am

Application process:

  • Attend an open program day
  • Submit application and application fee
  • Claim the spot with a deposit ahead of the start of programs

2018 Forest Gnomes Application form

Guided Public Programs (ages 1.5-17)

Guided Public Programs offer people of all ages wonderful opportunities to experience the farm. Programs are organized by season and age level.

Have questions? Reach out to [email protected]

Afterschool Farmers

This program will involve students in our everyday Farm operations, from animals chores to harvest to putting our gardens to bed. Memorial students will be walked over from Memorial by Farm staff. (Please indicate in the “Notes” section of the online registration if your child is from Memorial.) There are no classes on Natick Early Release days.

Farming for Homeschoolers

This opportunity for middle-school-aged youth is all about working together to solve problems creatively and to contribute meaningfully to the Farm’s mission. These intrepid students participate in every aspect of the farming seasons, from harvesting in the fall, to sugaring in the winter, to planting in the spring. Join us in growing people while growing food!

February Vacation Farmers

February Vacation Farmers (grades k-4)

Experience the Farm in the winter. Care for the animals, enjoy the warmth of the greenhouse, learn winter crafts, make yummy treats, and explore winter in the woods. You’ll be part of the opening maple sugaring season. If the weather is right, you’ll help tap sugar maples!

 

February Vacation Work Experience (grades 5-8)

Middle-school students are invited to join the Farm staff during February vacation to help with our maple sugaring operation, work in the greenhouses, care for our animals and their new arrivals, and help with maintenance.

Friday Farm Time

It’s Friday Farm time! Join one of our Forest Gnome teachers as we work and have fun on the Farm. Experience a taste of Gnome life as we spend half the day as Farmers caring for and feeding the animals, and half the day exploring the woods with lots of time for child-directed play. This is an outdoor program that runs in all weather and combines the best of Farm and forest time! A snack is included and the cost is incorporated into the program fee. Come dressed in weather-  appropriate gear for a morning full of outdoor play and Farm activities! 

A Farmer’s Morning

Let’s do it the Farmer’s way! First we will take care of the animals, feed and water them. We’ll collect fresh eggs for breakfast and then head inside for a hearty warm breakfast.

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

01 Sun Apr 22 9-10:30am $25 (age 5+)/$20 (age 5+)*

02 Sun May 6 9-10:30am $25 (age5+)/$20 (age 5+)*

*For all persons attending the breakfast (children 5 yrs old+ and adults) there is a fee. Children 4yrs and younger attend for free.

Afterschool Farmers (Grades K-4)

This program will involve students in our everyday Farm operations, from animal chores to harvesting, to putting our gardens to bed. Memorial students will be walked over from Memorial by Farm staff. Please indicate in the “Notes” section of the online registration if your child is from Memorial. No program on Natick Early Release days.

S Day Dates Times Price/M Price

01A Mon Apr 2-Jun 4 3:15-4:45pm $204/$168

01B Mon Apr 2-Jun 4 3:15-5:15pm $272/$224

02A Tue Mar 20-Jun 5 3:15-4:45pm $280/$231

02B Tue Mar 20-Jun 5 3:15-5:15pm $374/$308

03A Thu Mar 22-Jun 7 3:15-4:45pm $280/$231

03B Thu Mar 22-Jun 7 3:15-5:15pm $374/$308

(No program Apr 16, Apr 17, Apr 19, May 28)

Afterschool in the Woods (Grades K-4)

Let’s reclaim our woods for afternoon play and exploration. There will be time for hikes, wood working and building shelters. Memorial students will be walked over from Memorial by Farm staff.  No program on Natick Early Release Days.

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

03A Wed Mar 7-Jun 6 3:15-4:45pm $230/$189

03B Wed Mar 7-Jun 6 3:15-5:15pm $306/$252

(No class on Mar 14, Apr 4, Apr 11, Apr 18, May 23)

April Vacation Farmers (K-4)

Experience the Farm in the winter. Care for the animals, enjoy the warmth of the greenhouse, learn winter crafts, make yummy treats, and explore winter in the woods. You’ll be part of the opening maple sugaring season. If the weather is right, you’ll help tap sugar maples!

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

01 Tue-Fri Apr 17-20 9-12pm $204/$168

02 Tue-Fri Apr 17-20 1-4pm $204/$168

April Vacation Work Experience (Grades 5-8)

Middle school students are invited to join the Farm staff during February vacation to help with our maple sugaring operation, work in the greenhouses, care for our animals and their new arrivals, and help with maintenance.

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

01 Tue-Fri Apr 17-20 8:30-12pm $238/$196

02 Tue-Fri Apr 17-20 1-4:30pm $238/$196

Baby Stars at the Farm (Ages 3-5)

Get to know bunnies, kids, lambs, chicks and piglets through watching, touching and storytelling. Each week will feature one animal. We will meet the animals and read a story.

S Day Dates Times Price/M Price

01A Mon Apr 2-30 10:30-11:30am $68/$56

01B Mon Apr 2-30 1:30-2:30pm $68/$56

(No Class Apr 16)

Chore Time (Ages 3-5)

Come down to the Farm and wake the animals up. Help the Farm feed and water the animals and gather the eggs.

S Day Dates Times Price/M Price

01 Mon Apr 2-30 9-10am $68/$56

02 Tue Apr 3-May 1 9-10am $68/$56

03 Thu Apr 5-May 3 9-10am $68/$56

04 Mon May 7-Jun 4 9-10am $68/$56

05 Tue May 8-29 9-10am $68/$56

06 Thu May 10-31 9-10am $68/$56

(No class Apr 16, 17, 19, May 28)

Farm Activities and Crafts (Ages 3-5)

Let’s discover the Farm in beautiful spring and do farm projects and activities around the season – from sowing seeds, to creating a Farm project, and gathering flowers.

S Day Dates Times Price/M Price

01A Thu Apr 5-May 3 10:30-11:30am $68/$56

01B Thu Apr 5-May 3 1:30-2:30pm $68/$56

Farming for Homeschoolers (Ages 5-10)

Please join us for a year round, hands-on program that involves children in our every-day Farming operations – from maple sugaring to working in the solar greenhouses, from starting seeds in the greenhouses to transplanting seedlings into the vegetable gardens.  Every week we start the morning with animal chores. Over the course of the year children will get a deep insight into all aspects of work on a farm and to where our food comes from. This is a drop-off program.

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

02 Tue Mar 27-Jun 5 9-12pm $480/$390

(No class on Apr 17)

Got Milk (Ages 3-5)

Have you ever milked a goat? Spend some time with our milking friends! Does chocolate milk really come from brown cows? Come see and taste what we can make with milk!

S Day Dates Times Price/M Price

01 Wed May 23 9:30-10:30am $17/$14

Hop with the Bunnies (Ages 3-5)

Spend some time learning about these warm, fuzzy little creatures. How they live in the wild and how we care for them at home.

S Day Dates Times Price/ M Price

01 Wed Apr 25 9:30-10:30am $17/$14

02 Wed May 9 9:30-10:30am $17/$14

Let’s Play!

May 7, from 12-2pm at the Natick Community Organic Farm
For parents and caregivers and their children (preschool through elementary)
A “hands on” program with ideas on how parents can engage their children through the world of play. Facilitated by licensed psychotherapist Pam Stich, this program will take place (weather permitting) outside at Natick’s local gem (and natural playground), the Natick Community Organic Farm. Lead Sponsors: Natick Community Organic Farm and SPARK Kindness. Registration for this program takes place through SPARK Kindness.

Little Hands in the Soil (Ages 3-5)

We are looking for little hands to help us take care of our “Toddler’s Garden”. We will plant and mulch, rake and water, cultivate and decorate – just like big gardeners.

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

01A Thu May 10-31 10:30-11:30am $68/$56

01B Thu May 10-31 1:30-2:30pm $68/$56

Only Bunnies (Ages 5-10)

Thinking about a rabbit for a pet? Here’s your chance to hold, care for and get all your questions about these furry critters answered.

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

01 Wed Apr 11 3:30-4:30pm $17/$14

Outdoor explore and Play Group (Ages 1.5-3.5 with a caregiver)

Join our dynamic play group which focuses on outdoor free-play and exploration, community building and connection to the natural world. When registering, please indicate the age of your child and who will accompany the child in the ‘note’ section.

S Day Dates Times Price/M Price

01 Mon Apr 2-30 3-4pm $68/$56

02 Mon May 7-Jun 4 3-4pm $68/$56

(No class Apr 16, May 28)

Purely Piglets (Ages 5-10)

Get to know the smartest animal on the Farm. A chance to learn about our piglets, feed them kitchen scraps and watch them play in the mud.

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

01 Wed Apr 4 3:30-4:30pm $17/$14

Sassy Goats and Lambs (Ages 5-10)

Springtime sees our lambs and kid goats running out on the fresh grass in the meadow. Visit these gentle little creatures and learn about their needs and the great products they give us.

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

01 Wed May 23 3:30-4:30 $17/$14

Youth Work Experience (Grades 5-8)

We are inviting middle school students to join Farm staff after school top take care of the animals and help with maintenance. During the months of April, May and June, students will be involved in starting our vegetable seedlings, transplanting and preparing our gardens.

S Day Dates Time Price/M Price

01 Tue Feb 27-Mar 27 3-4:30pm $120/$97

02 Wed Feb 28-Mar 28 3-4:30pm $120/$97

03 Thu Feb 29-Mar 29 3-4:30pm $120/$97

04 Tue Apr 3-May 1 3:00-4:30pm $96/$84

05 Wed Apr 4-May 2 3-4:30pm $96/$84

06 Thu Apr 5-May 3 3-4:30pm $96/$84

07 Tue May 8-29 3-4:30pm $96/$84

08 Wed May 9-30 3-4:30pm $96/$84

09 Thu May 10-31 3-4:30pm $96/$84

(No class on April 17, 18, 19)

NCOF’s popular summer programs offer youth ages 3-17 ten weeks of amazing opportunities to engage with the farm and to help run it! Four-day sessions run mornings or afternoons and are led by experienced instructors. Activities are carefully tailored by age level.

Forest Explorers (Ages 3.5-5)

With the Forest Explorers, children discover the woods as a place of magic and make-believe through song, play, and storytelling. What’s behind that tree? What’s under that rock? What’s around the trailbend? These questions, when infused with a sense of adventure, make each day a truly epic day in the woods. Build a fort, bake a mud-pie, make a leaf collage, or splash in the pond. Each week, the Forest Explorers fill the woods with wonder and laughter. Join us for an unforgettable summer! 

  • Weekly sessions run Monday through Thursday, 9am to 12pm
  • $168 for members, $204 for nonmembers

!All Forest Explorers must be potty trained by June 1st, 2018!

Budding Farmers (Ages 4-5)

The day of a Budding Farmer is filled with exploration and imagination. As our youngest group on the farm, Budding Farmers discover this fascinating place with all five senses. Children dance their way through the lifecycle of a chicken, taste a variety of vegetables for the first time, listen like bunnies in a rabbit circle, and feel the rough tongue of the cow licking grain from their hands. Guided by intrepid naturalist-agrarian educators, expect your child to build their powers of observation while immersing themselves in the farm landscape. So get your mud boots on and get ready to make friends with a goat, rescue some lost chickens, and find life all around the farm!

  • Weekly sessions run Monday through Thursday
    • Morning sessions run 9am to 12pm
    • Afternoon sessions run 1pm to 4pm
  • $168 for members, $204 for nonmembers

Young Farmers (Ages 6-7)

Young Farmers discover that though small they can make a big difference on the farm. We challenge our students to jump in and try new things like entering an animal enclosure to improve the pasture, pushing a wheelbarrow for the first time, or eating a salad they picked themselves! At the end of a week spent caring for the animals, minding their very own garden, and roaming the grounds, Young Farmers leave feeling like they belong on the Farm.

  • Weekly sessions run Monday through Thursday
    • Morning sessions run 9am to 12pm
    • Afternoon sessions run 1pm to 4pm
  • $168 for members, $204 for nonmembers

Growing Farmers (Ages 8-9)

Growing Farmers are ready to be part of the farm. Whether it’s making some mint tea after weeding a fence line, singing a song while stacking some wood, or holding the second annual Forest Stream Regatta, these youngsters experience the breadth and depth of farm life. Through work, through play, Growing Farmers discover what they can do, learn, and become in the wild potential of nature. These guys get their hands dirty turning the Farm into their classroom, stage, and playground.

  • Weekly sessions run Monday through Thursday
    • Morning sessions run 8:30am to 12pm
    • Afternoon sessions run 1pm to 4:30pm
  • $196 for members, $238 for nonmembers

Junior Working Farmers (Ages 10-11)

The Junior Working Farmer program is for kids ready to have fun while doing good work. This can-do team and the work they do touches all aspects of farm life. One day they are carpenters, fixing a sticky gate. The next day they might be engineers finding the gradient for a storm drain. And everyday they curate and polish market stand. Each day brings something exciting and new, new problems to solve, new opportunities for creativity. The Junior Working Farmers is a great chance for kids to excel in farm projects and get a better, dirtier, view of where our food comes from!

  • Morning sessions run 9am to 12pm, Monday through Friday
    • There are no afternoon sessions for the JWF!
  • $230 for members, $280 for nonmembers

Working Farmers (Ages 12-14)

The Working Farmer program is a learn by doing experience. As Working Farmers kids become agricultural juggernauts, powering every dimension of the growing process. Seeding, weeding, cultivating, harvesting, selling- they are hands on at every step. Working right alongside our expert growers, kids learn where their food comes from and how to grow it. Throughout the summer, this team develops the skills and the confidence to run the farm and have a blast while doing it. So get ready to roll up your sleeves and join us!

  • Morning sessions run 8:30am to 12pm, Monday through Friday
    • $230 for members, $280 for nonmembers
  • Afternoon sessions run 1pm to 4:30pm, Monday through Thursday.
    • $238 for members, $196 for nonmembers
  • In order to best prepare for a great summer, all Working Farmers are asked to attend a pre-season meeting at 4:30 on Wednesday, June 13th. If you decide to join us this season afterJune 13th, please be sure to review the Working Farmer Guidelines.

Leaders in Training

Leaders in Training are unpaid summer teaching positions for mature preteens & young teens. LITs gain invaluable experience assisting our summer teachers and “learning the ropes” of teaching–serving as an LIT is an excellent way to make yourself known to the Farm staff and proof yourself worthy of being on the Teen Work Crew, as well as to fill community service requirements.

Email our summer program coordinator if you are interested.

Teen Work Crew

Teen Work Crew (ages 13-17) offers paid, mentored summer work for teens carrying out “the big jobs” at the farm, like mowing, fencing, splitting wood, and tackling general construction projects.

Teens work 3 to 4 24-hour weeks over the course of the summer, earning minimum wage, under a Teen Work Crew leader.

Teens are selected to participate on TWC by submitting a short written essay by April 1 and participating by in a scheduled work try out in May.

Email our summer program coordinator for details.

 

Barnyard Buddies (ages 3-7 with a caregiver)

Come down to the Farm and wake up the animals. Help the Farm feed and water the animals and gather eggs. When registering, please indicate who will accompany the child in the “notes” section.

01 Sun Sep 16 9:00-10:30 am $25/$21

02 Sun Sep 30 9:00-10:30 am $25/$21

03 Sun Oct 14 9:00-10:30 am $25/$21

04 Sun Oct 28 9:00-10:30 am $25/$21

Register

Farm and Forest Fun with our Wee Ones (ages 1-2 with a caregiver)

Join us for a sensory experience with your infant or toddler. Led by a Farm teacher, you will spend time in the forest and on the farm. We will explore the woods and introduce our wee ones to the Farm animals. No class on Nov 23.

01 Fri Sep 14-Oct 5 10:00-11:00 am $68/$56

02 Fri Oct 12-Nov 2 10:00-11:00 am $68/$56

03 Fri Nov 9-Dec 7 10:00-11:00 am $68/$56

Register

Chicken and Egg (ages 3-5)

Meet a chicken. We’ll learn what they really love to eat and feed them ourselves. Maybe if we’re quiet, we can hold a chicken. Then we’ll hunt for eggs in the nesting boxes.

01 Wed Sep 26 9:30-10:30 am $17/$14

02 Wed Oct 17 9:30-10:30 am $17/$14

 

Register

Chore Time (ages 3-5)

Come down to the Farm and wake up the animals. Help the Farm feed and water the animals and gather the eggs. No class Oct 8, Nov 12, Nov 22.

01 Mon Sep 10-Oct 1 9:00-10:00 am $68/$56

02 Thu Sep13-Oct 4 9:00-10:00 am $68/$56

03 Mon Oct 15-Nov 5 9:00-10:00 am $68/$56

04 Thu Oct 11-Nov 1 9:00-10:00 am $68/$56

05 Mon Nov 19-Dec 10 9:00-10:00 am $68/$56

06 Thu Nov 8-Dec 6 9:00-10:00 am $68/$56

Register

Fall Farm Crafts (ages 3-5)

Let’s explore the Farm and forest in beautiful fall and create crafts from natural and recycled materials. We’ll make everything from wreaths to leaf mobiles to herb bouquets.

01 Mon Oct 15-Nov 5 10:30-11:30 am $68/$56

02 Mon Oct 15-Nov 5 1:30-2:30 pm $68/$56

 

Register

Farm Activities (ages 3-5)

Fall is busy on the Farm, there’s so much to harvest, to preserve, to decorate and enjoy!

01 Mon Sep 10-Oct 1 10:30-11:30 am $68/$56

02 Mon Sep 10-Oct 1 1:30-2:30 pm $68/$56

Register

Gnomes on the Farm (ages 3-5)

Wake up the animals, help water feed the animals, and gather eggs from the hens. Then spend some time in the forest, where free play is the order of the day, and where exploration and imagination guide the activities!

01 Fri Sep 7-Dec 14 9:00 am-12:00 pm $765/$630

Register

 

Hop with the Bunnies (ages 3-5)

Spend some time learning about these warm, fuzzy little creatures, learning how they live in the wild and how we care for them at home.

01 Wed Sep 12 9:30-10:30 am $17/$14

02 Wed Oct 3 9:30-10:30 am $17/$14

Register

Little Hands in the Soil (ages 3-5)

We are looking for little hands to help us take care of our gardens. We will harvest, mulch, and put the garden to bed, just like big gardeners. Maybe we’ll hide some bulbs in the ground to surprise the Farmers in the spring.

01 Thu Sep 13-Oct 4 10:30-11:30 am $68/$56

02 Thu Sep 13-Oct 4 1:30-2:30 pm $68/$56

Register

Outdoor Explore and Play (ages 1.5-3.5 with a caregiver)

Join our dynamic playgroup which focuses on outdoor free play and exploration, community building and connection to the natural world. When registering, please indicate the age of your child and who will accompany the child in the “notes” section. No class on Oct 8, Nov 12.

01 Mon Sep 17-Oct 15 3:00-4:00 pm $68/$56

02 Mon Oct 22-Nov 19 3:00-4:00 pm $68/$56

Register

Afterschool Farmers (grades K-4)

This program will involve students in our everyday Farm operations, from animal chores to harvesting to putting our gardens to bed. Memorial students will be walked over from Memorial by Farm staff. Please indicate in the “notes” section of the online registration if your child is from Memorial. No program on Natick Early Release days or on Oct 8, Nov 12, Nov 22, Nov 26, Dec 24, Dec 25, Dec 27, Dec 31, Jan 1.

01A Mon Sep 10-Nov 5 3:15-4:45 pm $204/$168

01B Mon Sep 10-Nov 5 3:15-5:15 pm $272/$224

02A Tue Sep 4-Oct 23 3:15-4:45 pm $204/$168

02B Tue Sep 4-Oct 23 3:15-5:15 pm $272/$224

03A Thu Sep 6-Oct 25 3:15-4:45 pm $204/$168

03B Thu Sep 6-Oct 25 3:15-5:15 pm $272/$224

04A Mon Nov 19-Jan 28 3:15-4:45 pm $204/$224

04B Mon Nov 19-Jan 28 3:15-5:15 pm $272/$224

05A Tue Oct 30-Dec 18 3:15-4:45 pm $204/$224

05B Tue Oct 30-Dec 18 3:15-5:15 pm $272/$224

06A Thu Nov 1-Jan 3 3:15-4:45 pm $204/$224

06B Thu Nov 1-Jan 3 3:15-5:15 pm $272/$224

Register

Afterschool in the Woods (grades k-4)

Let’s reclaim our woods for afternoon play and exploration. There will be time for hikes, wood working, and building shelters. Memorial students will be walked over from Memorial by Farm staff.  No program on Natick Early Release Days or on Sep 26, Oct 17, Nov 8, Nov 14, Nov 21, Dec 6

01A Wed Sep 5-Dec 19 3:15-4:45pm $204/$168

01B Wed Sep 5-Dec 19 3:15-5:15pm $272/$224

Register

Afterschool in the Woods (grades k-4)

Let’s reclaim our woods for afternoon play and exploration. There will be time for hikes, wood working, and building shelters. Memorial students will be walked over from Memorial by Farm staff.  No program on Natick Early Release Days or on Sep 26, Oct 17, Nov 8, Nov 14, Nov 21, Dec 6

01A Wed Sep 5-Dec 19 3:15-4:45pm $204/$168

01B Wed Sep 5-Dec 19 3:15-5:15pm $272/$224

Register

Chicken Time (ages 5-7)

Meet a chicken and learn what they really love to eat and feed them ourselves. Maybe if we’re quiet, we can hold a chicken. Then we’ll hunt for eggs in the nesting boxes.

01 Wed Sep 26 3:30-4:30 pm $17/$14

Register

Farming for Homeschoolers (ages 5-10)

Throughout the 2018/2019 school year we will offer a Tuesday and Thursday morning program for homeschoolers at the Farm. Each morning children will be involved in our everyday Farm operations, from animal chores to harvesting to putting our gardens to bed. Over the course of the year, children will get a deep insight into all aspects on a Farm. This is a drop-off program. No class on Sep 21, Nov 23.

01 Tue Sep 11-Dec 18 9:00 am-12:00 pm $720/$585

Register

Farming for Homeschoolers (ages 11-14)

This opportunity for middle-school-aged youth is all about working together to solve problems creatively and to contribute meaningfully to the Farm’s mission. These intrepid students participate in every aspect of the farming seasons, from harvesting in the fall to sugaring in the winter to planting in the spring. Join us in growing people while growing food! No class Oct 8, Nov 12.

01 Mon Sep 10-Dec 17 8:30 am-2:30 pm $1,040/$845

Register

Only Bunnies (ages 5-10)

Thinking about a rabbit for a pet? Here’s your chance to hold, care for, and get all your questions answered about these furry critters.

01 Wed Sep 19 3:30-4:30 pm $17/$14

02 Wed Oct 17 3:30-4:30 pm $17/$14

Register

Youth Work Experience (grades 5-8)

We are inviting middle-school students to join Farm staff after school to take care of the animals and help with maintenance. During the months of September, October and November, students will be involved in harvesting and putting the gardens to bed.

01 Tue Sep 4-Oct 9 3:00-4:30 pm $144/$117

02 Wed Sep 5-Oct 10 3:00-4:30 pm $144/$117

Register


School Programs (grades K-12)

A Living Laboratory to Enhance Classroom Learning


Using the farm as an exciting laboratory, we bring classroom subjects to life by inviting school children to observe and participate in activities integral to producing healthy food. All of our school programs are rooted in our natural surroundings to encourage an understanding of the earth’s ecological cycles and how we, as organic farmers, work within them. Programs are aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and the content can be adapted to meet the needs of any elementary grade level. Our ultimate intention is to offer students hands-on experiences to cultivate their appreciation for and understanding of the larger ecological community.

Dates, Times and Fees


All programs are offered Monday – Friday during the school year. Programs are scheduled between 8:30 a.m. – 4 pm. The Farm can accommodate up to 3 classes per time slot. One hour and fifteen minute programs are $8/person (2 teachers/class free), with a minimum program fee of $120 (15 people). For teachers who want more in-depth farm studies, we offer the option of presenting two farm programs back-to-back. These 2.5 hour programs are $13/person (2 teachers/class free), with a minimum program fee of $195 (15 people). School classes are invited to bring a healthy snack or lunch and use our picnic tables.

Have questions? Reach out to [email protected]

Offered from mid February to mid March depending on the season. Learn what weather conditions make sap run in maple sugar trees so we can collect it to make syrup. Taste sap right out of a tree and learn to identify which trees we tap here our farm! Students will be introduced to historical practices of sugaring used by Native American tribes and early European settlers, as well as the contemporary practices we use to make delicious sap right here on our farm. End your visit with a stop in our sugar shack and, if we are boiling, you will experience a sweet smelling laboratory where you can explore evaporation, condensation, temperature, and density. Syrup is for sale after your program, ask for our pricing.

Maple Sugaring MA Curriculum Framework Standards 

Come into the heart of prime honey bee habitat—our Farm. We’ll learn what makes the Farm a perfect sanctuary for our most productive pollinators by exploring vegetable fields, pastures, and weedy borders. We’ll visit our own bee hives and discuss hive structure and communication (get ready to do the waggle dance!) which enables bees to do the work of pollination and honey making. Students discover the rudiments of pollination with a close up visit to our flower field, a large 3-D flower model, and flower “dissections.”

Honey Bee Pollinator MA Curriculum Framework Standards

Students will rotate through several stations to learn about how nutrient rich food is grown on an organic farm. This is a seasonally dependent program and the types of activities are subject to change. Students will investigate our compost pile, harvest ripe vegetables, meet our farm animals, and discuss healthy whole foods. Each station will focus on the connection between the health of the individual and the health of the environment.

Close to the Ground MA Curriculum Framework Standards 

In this program, students will learn about how healthy soil is created through a hands-on investigation of our compost pile. They will be introduced to the various fungi, bacteria, and insects that act as decomposers and discover how these helpful organisms break down organic material. Then they will explore parts of our deciduous forest to learn about the types of plants that grow in this climate. Lastly, students will tour the types of plants growing on our farm and learn more about the delicate balance between soil and plants.

Soil and Plant MA Curriculum Framework Standards 

Students will explore the woodlands on the farm to learn more about our Northeast deciduous forest biome. They will learn which features constitute the basement, floor, shrub layer, and all the way up to the canopy of the forest and how the living organisms in each layer interact to create a complex ecosystem. While walking through the forest, students will learn how to “read” a landscape to discern how it has changed over time. Lastly, they will learn how organic farmers use the information observed in local forests to produce food that is healthy for our bodies and good for our environment.

Curriculum Connections:
MASS DOE Life Science/Biology PreK-2 Standards:
1. Recognize that animals (including humans) and plants are living things that grow, reproduce, and need food, air and water.
3. Recognize that plants and animals have life cycles, and that life cycles vary for different living things.
MASS DOE Life Science/Biology 3-5 Standards:
1. Classify plants and animals according to the physical characteristics they share
3. Recognize that plants and animals go through predictable life cycles that include birth, growth, development, reproduction, and death.
9. Recognize plant behaviors response to light, gravity, seasonal changes etc.
10. Give examples of how organisms can cause changes in their environment to ensure survival.  Explain how some of these changes may affect the ecosystem.
11. Describe how energy derived from the sun is used by plants to produce sugars (photosynthesis) and is transferred within a food chain from producers (plants) to consumers to decomposers.

MA DOE Life Science/Biology PreK-2 Standards: 1 & 3
MA DOE Life Science/Biology 3-5 Standards: 1, 3, 9-11
Key Concepts: succession, basic tree anatomy, close & creative observation, connectivity of habitats

What do rocks have to do with our health? Come explore the farm’s compost pile, test how water runs through different soils, and learn about why farmers and environmentalists care so much about dirt! Students will learn how natural forces create the soil that we need to grow our food and how minerals from soil get into our food. Students will explore the farm for signs of erosion and weathering as well as discover what we do to maintain healthy soil.

Rocks to Soil MA Curriculum Framework Standards 

Discover all the different roles creepy crawlies play on the farm! Search for munching decomposers, pick pesky pests off if plants, and help the pollinators make our fruit grow! Find out which bugs are helpful to farmers and which are harmful. Through a series of hands on investigations students will explore the farm’s fields, composting system and greenhouse to see the smallest parts of a working farm.

 

Bugs on the Farm MA Curriculum Framework Standards 

Gr. K-2

Life exists because of plant and animal interdependence! Students learn how forest and farm food webs help our New England creatures and plants survive, grow, and reproduce. We’ll explore what’s growing in our fields, dig for decomposers, and visit our animals—spotlighting chickens and eggs with their surprising trait variations. Students will gain insight into how plants and animals have adapted together to meet their needs through the core interdependencies of food, shelter, reproduction, and air.

Gr. 3-5

Life exists because of plant and animal interdependence! Students learn how food webs transfer the sun’s energy to our New England creatures and plants to help them survive, grow, and reproduce. We’ll explore what’s growing in our fields, dig for decomposers, and visit our animals—with a special emphasis on sheep and chickens. Students will gain insight into how plants and animals have adapted together to meet their needs, and in turn how farmers and seasons shape our unique farm habitat.

Plant & Animal Interdependence MA Curriculum Framework Standards

This program is offered at the Farm or in Classrooms.

Meet the chicks, hens and roosters on the farm and discover where they originated from in the wild! Get up close and personal with the chickens to learn about their amazing adaptations and what makes them different from other animals on the farm. Learn how a chicken’s maturation process, starting from inside the egg and the important role they play on our farm once they hatch!

Egg to Chicken MA Curriculum Framework Standards

April 30-May 4, 2018. Why do we shear sheep in the spring? How do sheep eat with no front teeth? Learn about the adaptations sheep have developed and watch them have their yearly hair cut. Go inside our education center to learn what makes wool so wonderful for making yarn and fabric, then try your own hand at carding, spinning and weaving the wool from our sheep.

Sheep and Wool MA Curriculum Framework Standards 

Visiting the Farm is about getting as close as possible to the plants, the animals, and the way to natural world works. Our Farm Tours are a great way for your class or group to get even closer while getting a broad view of everything that happens here on the Farm. Typically pitched to the younger crowd but easily scalable to college and beyond, these tours are the best way to experience everything the Farm has to offer.

Guided Farm Tour MA Curriculum Framework Standards 

Work Study Experience

The Farm is committed to having Middle and High School age students participate in farm work as active members of this community. This is a space in which students can engage in meaningful work, collaborate with their peers in a spirit of cooperation, and, through hands-on experiences, learn about the ecological cycles inherent in producing food for our community. Students learn to appreciate the amount of time, energy, and thought that goes into producing food that is healthy for our bodies, as well as for the environment. During Middle and High School Work /Study days, students build upon previous knowledge, are asked to use critical thinking skills, learn to work together, all the while enjoying the opportunity to spend the day out of doors and getting their hands in the earth!

Students visit the Farm for a 3-5 hour program combining work and study units with an emphasis on a specific subject concentration. There are between 4 and 6 work/study units in a day, with small groups of students rotating through each unit throughout the day. Students must be accompanied by school faculty who will work along side them. In order to have the program be collaborative with schools, we require that school faculty plan at least one lesson that they would teach as part of student rotations on the Farm.

Depending on your desired focus, choose from three concentration areas:

  • Agricultural Science & Farm Stewardship
  • Ecological Cycles & Sustainability
  • Healthy Eating: Farm to Fork

The Farm can accommodate up to 90 students per work/ study day. Working group size cannot exceed 15 students. We encourage faculty to consider whole grade level participation as a unifying experience, coming over several days, if needed to accommodate all students.

For a Work/Study days 3 hours in duration, our fee is $6 per student. For programs 3-5hours, it is $9 per student. We are committed to keeping fees as affordable as possible so cost will not be a determining factor in whether a school can participate in these programs; please contact us to discuss different possibilities!

What’s the buzz about bees? Asides from making honey, bees are responsible for pollinating close to 30% of all food consumed in this country. This interactive in-class program explores the basic anatomy, life cycle, and social structure of honey bees. Students will learn about fantastic bee adaptations, are introduced to the concept of metamorphosis, and the activities that take place within the hive. Students will discuss how and why bees are kept. Lastly, for older grades, we will discuss challenges that face the species and things people can do to help preserve these wonderful pollinators.

Curriculum Connections:
MASS DOE Life Science/Biology PreK-2 Frameworks:
1. Recognize that animals (including humans) are living things that grow, reproduce, and need food, air, and water.
3. Recognize that plants and animals have life cycles, and that life cycles vary for different living things.
6. Recognize that people and other animals interact with their environment through their senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
8. Identify the ways in which an organism’s habitat provides for its basic needs.
MASS DOE Life Science/Biology Grades 3-5 Frameworks:
3. Recognize that plants and animals go through predictable life cycles that include birth, growth, development, reproduction, and death.
8. Describe how organisms meet some of their needs in an environment by using behaviors in response to information received from the environment.

MA DOE Life Science/Biology Pre-K Standards: 1, 3, 6, & 8
MA DOE Life Science/Biology 3-5 Standards: 3 & 8
Key Concepts: pollination, basic anatomy, life cycle, and social structure of honey bees


Scout Programs (all levels)

For over a decade, Natick Community Organic Farm has hosted Boy and Girl Scouts of all ages – from Daisy and Cub Scouts to Eagle and Gold Award Scouts – as they learn and work alongside our farmer/educators at this unique community resource. We offer Scouts a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry, local eating, environmental stewardship, and much more! Farm animals, vegetable and flower gardens, beekeeping, sheep shearing, greenhouses, maple sugaring, an historic barn, and a forested woodland trail are just some of the options for exploration at the Farm.

Pitch your tent, make dinner over a campfire, and enjoy the night sounds on the Farm!

Help feed and water the farm animals in the morning, and collect your own eggs for a hearty farmers’ breakfast. One dozen eggs and 12 oz. maple syrup are compliments of the Farm.

When: Sept – Nov and April – June,

Friday or Saturday night

Time: 3pm check in & 12pm check out

Fee: $25/Person

(first two adults free)

Ages: All

We are happy to work with Scout leaders to tailor our programming to satisfy your Scouts’ badge requirements. Areas of study on the farm include:

  • > Organic Farming
  • > Soil Ecology
  • > Vegetables
  • > Flowers
  • > Bugs
  • > Bees
  • > Geology and Soil
  • > Farm Animals
  • > New England Forest History and Ecology
  • > Worms and Composting
  • > Eating Local
  • > Trees and Maple Sugaring
  • > Sheep Shearing

When: Sept – June (some programs are seasonal)

Time: Mon – Sat / times customized to fit your schedule and based on Farm staff availability

Materials: Materials and badges not included unless specifically stated

Fee: 1.5 hrs: $80/10 Scouts and $8 each additional Scout

2 hrs: $100/10 Scouts and $10 each additional Scout

Ages: All

The Farm is a great place to be a Girl Scout. Whether you join us for a farm experience or a badge program your troop will enjoy all the sights and smells and sounds this special place has to offer.

Girl Scout Troops are welcome to join us for any and all Farm programming, including:

  • Afternoon chores
  • Farm tours
  • Sheep Shearing in late spring
  • Maple Sugaring tours in early spring

For a full list of programs and badges, here is our  Girl Scout Program Guide.

Maple Sugaring Tours

During sugaring season we’d love to have you and yours come on down to the Farm and see how this New England favorite gets made. Learn to tap a tree, hear how the Native Americans and colonials would have made maple syrup, and experience process for yourself in our sugar shack.

Tours run for about an hour and must be booked in advance. The fee is $8 per person.

01 Mon-Fri Feb 24- Mar 23 1:00 pm-1:45 pm $8

02 Mon-Fri Feb 24-Mar 23 3:30-4:15 pm $8

03 Mon-Fri Feb 24-Mar 23 4:15-5:00 pm $8

04 Sat Feb 24-Mar 23 9:30-10:15 am $8

05 Sat Feb 24-Mar 23 11:00 am-11:45 am $8

We expect to sugar between February 24 and March 23 but cannot guarantee we will actively be boiling on any particular day. 

Questions? Reach out to [email protected]   Interested in a tour? Start the signup process here.


NCOF 4-H Club (ages 8-18)

NCOF 4-H Club offers unique opportunities to work with animals. Each Saturday, members come to feed animals at the farm and learn about caring for them. We have a community service event once a month, and it is a great way to get involved in your community. In the spring, we get to help care for the baby animals. Our club focuses on hands-on learning and giving back to the community.  If you are interested in a career in livestock or you just enjoy working with animals, the Natick Organic Farm 4-H club is a great way to get started. For more information contact, [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].   

Please join us for our Open House at 9:30 a.m. on March 31st, where you will be able to experience a feed and a meeting!

Tours (all ages)

Farm tours are a great way for a group of people to get a better sense of everything that goes on here at the Natick Community Organic Farm. Led by farm staff, these all-access hour-long visits can be tailored to the interests of your group. Groups of all sizes and ages are welcome!

  • Tour groups are welcome at $8 a head
  • Tours run an hour in length
  • Staff-led access to animal enclosures and greenhouses, size of group permitting

To book a tour for your class or group, or to get more information, email [email protected]


Teen Programs (ages 13-17)

This portion of our website is under construction. Please forgive us as we work on it behind the scenes…

 

TEEN WORK CREW provides meaningful paid employment to 14 to 18 teens every summer.  By tackling “big jobs” around the farm, such as mowing, fencing, and splitting wood, teens learn to work together, take direction, and to creatively problem-solve.

To apply for the Teen Work Crew, would-be participants–not their parents–must email our summer program coordinator, who will ask for a short written essay by April 1 and, if selected, schedule a work try out.

 

MENTORING TEENS THROUGH AGRICULTURE offers comprehensive, year-round paid training to up to 8 teens annually. By serving as farm hands after school and during breaks, Apprentices learn to run the farm and hone their abilities to plan, problem solve, work independently, manage, and lead. Many go on to careers in agriculture.

Apprenticeships are selected from their participation in other Farm programs.

What Our Teens Say

“The Farm is teaching me stuff that I wouldn’t learn otherwise—practical stuff like construction, and where my food comes from. I’ve developed such a deeper understanding of where what I eat comes from.”—Violet
“I get satisfaction from cutting up wood. I set a goal of the number of pieces I’m going to do and I try and accomplish it.”—John
“I’ve learned to be adaptable, that you’re not always going to know how to do something, and that you need to figure out how to create solutions.”—April
I used power tool to help build a table. I’m really proud of that—maybe not of the table itself—but of the journey to build the table. I’ve learned how to be a leader here, too, and that it’s OK to make mistakes.”—Ava
“I’ve learned to think for myself, and to take responsibility. To listen more and to talk less.”—Jacob M.,
“You get stronger working here and every day is different. It’s not at all repetitive. And you get really close to the people you work with.”—Jake
“I could just be working at a supermarket, bagging groceries. That would be so boring. Here you have an end product, which I really like, and I get to practice skills that I’ll use for the rest of my life.”—Davis
“All of my family members are super interested in what I’m doing here. Everyone has started to eat more produce, and have started composting. So my Apprenticeship has had a real impact on more than just me.”—Grace
What Their Parents Say
“Initially my teen was unsure…within the week, she was explaining to me the intricacies of building a successful rabbit hutch and asking me if she’d be free enough to sign up for a regular gig during the year. Novel thinking and learning about nature will help her to grow and the farm to deliver.”—Rachael, Parent
“Working physically gives the kids troubleshooting skills that you just don’t learn typing on a computer.”—Christian, Parent
“The program is great because it allows him to be outside, work with others, and feel the accomplishment of getting projects done. It has given him independence with purpose.”—Allison, Parent

Interested in sponsoring a teen? Email us for details.