Farm Pod Classes

Make the Most of
the 2020-2021 Academic Year
with Farm Pod Classes 

Farm Pod Classes are perfect for your self-selected group of children and adults. Supplement homeschooling or school curricula with programs designed to bring earth and life science, and ecological concepts, to life with personal instruction and hands-on activities. Pod Classes are offered by season at our Farm, and all instruction is 100% outdoors. Programs meet MA Curriculum Framework Standards, and can be adapted for all ages. Extend the fun by touring our animals or hiking our nature trail after your program.

School Pod Programs Can Be Set Up to Suit Your Schedule

Duration One time, for 75 minutes

Date & Time Options Monday-Friday 9:15-10:30 am; 10:45 am-12:00 pm; 1:00-2:15 pm; 2:30-3:45 pm.
Saturday-Sunday: Custom times available.

Fees $132 for the first 6 people, children and adults. Additional people are $22/person. Maximum number of participants per program = 10.

If there are over 10 participants, we will set up a second tour for the minimum fee of $132 for the first 6 people, children and adults. Additional people are $22/person. Maximum number of participants per second program = 10.

(Adult attendance in programs is optional.)

Refund & Weather Policy Natick Community Organic Farm does not offer refunds after September 1st for the Fall session. If there is a Covid-19 related incident or we must cancel programs, we will issue refunds upon request at that time.

Natick Community Farm does not cancel due to weather. As a working farm, we do not shut down or stop working due to rain, snow, or otherwise. We expect program participants to arrive with weather appropriate clothes or they will be sent home.

If there is thunder and lightning, we have designated shelters on the property, such as the barn and maple sugaring shack.

TO REGISTER Email School Coordinator, Christine Schell at [email protected]g.

 

Your safety is paramount! All program participants must:

  • wear a mask at all times
  • wash hands before and after programs
  • socially distance from the farm educator

Program materials will be sanitized before your program.

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Pollinator Power

Offered seasonally Sept, Oct, May, June

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. Children discover the rudiments of pollination with a close up visit to our flower field, a large 3-D flower model, and flower “dissections.”

Rocks to Soil: How Geology Builds a Farm Sept-Nov & Apr-June

Offered seasonally Sept, Oct, Nov, Apr, May, June

Children will explore the Farm to learn how it’s uniquely suited to its river valley location, and how weathering and erosion play a part in creating its nutrient rich fields. We’ll explore questions like “what is a rock?” and “what is soil?” Activities include a close up look at the life-giving minerals that are in our soil and food as well as a hands-on comparison of several soil samples from the Farm. Students will gain a richer understanding of how geology “built” our Farm and contributes to the health of plants, animals, and…us.

Plant & Animal Interdependence

Offered seasonally Sept, Oct, Nov, Apr, May, June

Life exists because of plant and animal interdependence! Children 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 sheep with their surprising trait variations. Children 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.

Bugs on the Farm

Offered seasonally Sept, Oct, Apr, May, June

Discover all the different roles creepy crawlies play on the farm! Search for munching decomposers, pick pesky pests off plants, and visit the pollinators who help our plants grow. Find out which bugs are helpful to farmers and which are harmful. Through a series of hands-on investigations, children will explore the farm’s fields, composting system, and animals to discover some of our smallest unsung heroes (and villains!) on a working farm. 

Close to the Ground: Eating for Health 

Offered seasonally Sept, Oct, May, June

Learn how we grow and raise food “close to the ground.” Why is it good to eat more whole, real foods, as close to their original state as possible? A visit to the field will yield a few in-season veggies for us to sample. We’ll tour the farm animals, and explore what it means to humanely raise animals and understand their gifts to us. A quick shovel to the compost pile helps us find our littlest farmers—the decomposers so “close to the ground.” We’ll weave in themes like plant and animal adaptations, life cycles, and basic needs. Older children will do a quick nutrition study, while younger children learn from “Lola” that it’s brave to try new foods.

Soil & Plants

Offered Seasonally Sept, Oct, Apr, May, June

Children will learn about how healthy soil is the backbone to our plants and food web system. At our compost pile, children will scout out the various fungi, bacteria, and invertebrates that act as decomposers, and discover how these helpful organisms break down organic material. We might take apart a sprouted seed, dissect a plant and identify plant parts, and pot our own seed. We’ll tour the types of plants growing on our farm and learn more about the delicate balance between soil and plants.

Egg to Chicken

Offered seasonally Apr, May, June

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 bird grows, starting from inside the egg and the important role they play on our farm once they hatch!

Maple Sugaring March

Offered seasonally Feb, Mar

Learn what weather conditions make sap run in maple sugar trees so we can collect it to make syrup. Watch sap drip and learn to identify which trees we tap on our farm. Children 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. 

Sheep Shearing & Wool May

Offered seasonally May

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.

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Farm Pod Volunteering

Farm Pod Volunteering is designed for your self-selected group of middle schoolers (gr. 6-9). For 2 hours, a farmer educator will lead Farm Pod Volunteers on a 45 minute Guided Farm Tour, followed by 1-3 farm chores. Outdoor farm chores might include field clean up, mulching, washing sap buckets, cleaning out animal stalls, sweeping the barn, animal chores (select days/times only), and more. The chores are seasonal and varies day to day. The work is physical and outdoors. By participating in hands-on labor and the Guided Farm Tour, youth will deepen their appreciation of the underlying ecological processes of an organic farm as these processes relate to botany, animal husbandry, pollination, decomposition, and more.

Age Grades 6-9

Duration One time program, 2 hrs

Date & Time Options

Farm Chores Only:

Tues & Thur, between the hours of 8:30-4:30 (contact us)

Farm Chores with Animal Chore:

Tue: 8:30-10:30

Wed: 2:30-4:30

Thur: 8:30-10:30

Fees $204 for the first 6 people, children and adults. Additional people are $34/person. Maximum number of participants per program = 8 (Adult participation optional).

To set up your pod program, email
Christine Schell
Coordinator of Schools, Scouts, and Volunteers
[email protected]