Community Programs

Community Programs

Making an account is free, easy, nonobligatory, and will give you full access to program dates, times, descriptions, and availability.

Community Programs

NCOF’s hands-on, farm-based programs offer countless opportunities for individuals and families to learn about agriculture and to explore our natural world.

All our programs are grounded in the seasons and fully utilize our real working farm as a welcoming place of learning, discovery, and wonder.

Fall Programs September-November | Winter Programs including February Vacation Programs December-February | Spring Programs including April Vacation programs March-May | Summer Programs June-August

Important Notes! 

  • All programs at NCOF take place outdoors. Please dress accordingly.
  • Bring a hat, extra layers, shoes, and a change of clothing. Help younger children practice getting into and out of their gear on their own.
  • For programs lasting over an hour, please pack water and a healthy snack.
  • All programs are drop-off programs except where noted. Drop-off program participants must be fully potty-trained.
  • Current NCOF Members at the Crofter level ($125) and above automatically save 20% at check out. Join & Save.
  • All public and community program registration takes place online. Opening an account is easy, free, and will allow you to see pricing, dates, and availability.
  • Weather: NCOF programs follow the Natick Public Schools. If NPS cancels, or declares a remote learning day due to weather, NCOF programs will be cancelled as well. If NPS has a delayed opening, morning NCOF programs will be canceled, while afternoon programs will still run.
  • Holidays and days off: are listed at the bottom of this page and will be listed in the online registration for your class.
  • COVID & masking:  NCOF follows the the Natick Board of Health. Our current policies can be found here. We understand that keeping up with shifting policies can be difficult; we will do our best to keep you up-to-date of any changes affecting your program(s).
  • Cancellations: Refunds for fall programs will be issued until September 10, 2021. We do not offer credits or partial refunds. Sign ups after programs have started will be pro-rated.

Farm-Based Programs

Outdoor Explore & Play (ages 1.5-3 with caregiver) Select Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday 9:30-10:30 am Together we’ll visit the animals, sing songs, and hear a story! This is a wonderful introduction-to-NCOF program for our youngest farmers and their families.

Animal Hoppin’ on the Farm Series (ages 3-5) Monday or Wednesday 11:30 am-12:30 pm Each week we’ll visit a different farm animal, and go hoppin’, cluckin’, oinkin’ or  baahin’ as we make our way around the farm. We’ll talk about what makes each animal unique and how we take care of them, then we’ll finish up with an animal-themed craft. No programs on 9/16, 10/11, or 11/11.

Fridays on the Farm (ages 3-5) 9:00 am-12:00 pm  Come down to the farm and help our farmers wake up and check on the animals. Together we’ll feed and water the animals, then spend some time in free-play in the woods.

Little Hands in the Soil (ages 3-5) Monday or Wednesday 10:30-11:30 am Even folks with little fingers can help tend our gardens! This program engages our youngest farmers in hands-on activities and crafts.

Farm Sprouts (ages 3-5) Tuesday and/or Thursday 9:00 am-12:00 pm A wonderful chance for three- to five-year olds to explore the farm through daily animal interactions and visits to the fields and the forest. Our farm educators will structure the day and lead games and short lessons designed to engage children’s senses and introduce them to the wonders of the farm. Participants will have plenty of time for free-play in their very own space and for their imaginations to flourish. Please note that all children must be fully potty-trained by the start of this program in order to participate. 

Chore Time (ages 4-6) select Monday and/or Wednesday 9:00-10:00 am  Come down to the farm and help our farmers wake up and check on the animals. Together we’ll feed and water them and do fun things like collect the chickens’ eggs.

Farm Learning Workshop (ages 4-6) Monday 1:30-3:30 pm | (ages 7-12) Wednesday 1:30-3:30 pm Here’s a chance to take a deeper dive into a variety of farm topics week by week. Each week will explore a different facet of farming in an age-appropriate way, such as taking care of livestock, composting, gardening, or working with wood. 

Afterschool Farmers (grades K-4) select Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 3:30-5:00 pm | pick up at Memorial School available Youth in grades K-4 dive headfirst into our everyday, hands-on outdoor seasonal farm work and chores. Join us and have some fun using your body and your problem-solving skills outdoors after a long school day! NCOF staff are available to pick up and walk over Memorial School students at 3:16 dismissal. Please email our programming staff to request this.

Farming for Homeschoolers (ages 5-10)  Tuesday and/or Thursday 9:00 am-12:00 pm A great chance for 5- to 10-year olds to help out with age-appropriate and fun farm tasks, like daily animal chores, planting, weeding, and harvesting. This is a great introduction to what farms do, how farms work, and to learn what our farmers do on day-to-day basis on our diversified farm.

Farming for Homeschoolers (ages 11-14)  Monday and/or Wednesday 8:30 am-2:30 pm An opportunity for 11- to 14 year olds to work together to creatively solve problems and contribute meaningfully to the farm’s mission. Our older homeschoolers participate in every aspect of working the farm, from planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall to making maple syrup in the winter. Each group will come up with its own service project, such as creating a new product for the market stand or building benches.

Youth Work Experience (grades 5-8) select Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 3:00-4:30 pm Join us afterschool to help with afternoon animal chores and with farm maintenance. During February and March, our Youth Work Experience participants serve as key members of our maple sugaring crew!

Register now

Current Crofter level ($125) members automatically save 20% on public and community program frees at check out.

Woods-Based Programs 

Afterschool in the Woods (grades k-4) Wednesday 1:30-3:00 pm or 3:30-5:00 pm | pick up at Memorial School option  Unwind after a long day at school or on screens by relaxing and playing in our woods. We’ll make time for hikes and activities. NCOF staff are available to pick up and walk over Memorial School students at 3:16 dismissal. Please email our programming staff to request this.

Woodland Adventures (ages 3-5) Tuesday 1:00-4:00 pm or (grades K-2) Thursday 3:30-5:00 pm | pick up at Memorial School option   Spend some quality time in the forest. Free play is the order of our day as we let exploration and our imaginations guide our activities. We’ll visit the animals who live near or in our woodlands. NCOF staff are available to pick up and walk over Memorial School students for an additional $10/day per child. Please email our programming staff to arrange and pay for Memorial School pick up before the program begins.

My son G. is LOVING the Wednesday in the Woods program. He comes home so excited about new things he’s learned and explored. I can’t tell you how much we rave about the program!”--MP, Parent

Register now

Current Crofter level ($125) members automatically save 20% on public and community program frees at check out.

Online Family Class: Grow Your Own Mushrooms 

GYO Culinary mushrooms | full schedule & options listed below | online class  Learn how to start, nurture, and harvest your own delicious organic mushrooms from Elizabeth Almeida, owner and chief mushroom farmer of Fat Moon Mushroom Farms in Westford, MA. Your class fee  includes three hours of online instruction for all the members of your household and a 10-pound shiitake grow block, which will produce 2 to 3 pounds of mushrooms ($40-$50 worth) in a week. In addition to answering all your questions, Elizabeth will explain life cycle of mushrooms, share fun facts about the fungus kingdom, and provide culinary tips to maximize the flavor and the nutrition of your crop. Bring your curiosity and your questions and dive into the fascinating world of mycology with your fellow NCOF mycophiles! This is a family-friendly class; children must sign up and attend with someone 14 or over.

Schedule

  • Fri 10/22 pick up your mushroom block(s) at NCOF 9:30 am-4:00 pm
  • Sat 10/ 23 online class #1 11:00 am, life cycle and growing tips
  • Wed 10/ 27 online class #2 7:00 pm, Q &A, harvesting tips
  • Sat, 10/ 30 online class #3, 11:00 am, cooking tips, second flush
Register for the NCOF Mushroom Class

There is no NCOF member discount for this class.

February & April Vacation Programs

Please check back for 2022 vacation programs

My son participated in the April Vacation program and absolutely LOVED it. He is five and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but he came home each day saying, “the Farm was AWESOME!’ with two thumbs up. He wants to return every day after his sister naps.”–SL, Parent

Meet Our Educators

Questions?


Programs Do Not Meet 

New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents’ Day, Patriots Day,  Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Please check the individual class listing in our online registration program for additional information.

Program Information