What better way to learn about where your food comes from than hearing directly from a local farmer? Several classes from Calvert Elementary School recently had a visit from farmer Jim Bourne of Sandy Hill Farm, who brought along a chicken to show the pre-k and kindergartners where eggs actually come from.
"It was great," said teacher Michelle Fean about Bourne's red hen that appeared to have just laid an egg in it's carrier, "We had just read The Little Red Hen. Seeing the hen stole the show!"
As part of the second year of the "Kids Cook" program, developed and sponsored by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, 40 pre-k and kindergarten students in Fean's and Christine Palmer-Thorton's classes learned the basics of farming and taking care of farm animals from the Owings farmer.
Fean said that one of the kindergarten themes, or units, covers farm life and this on-site visit saved money and time, but provided a hands-on lesson that won't soon be forgotten. "It's hands-on, it's not just reading stories about it," she said.
Bourne said he took time away from his busy farm to speak to the students, because someone has to. "Kids need to know where their food comes from," he said. Like many local farmers, Bourne believes strongly in preserving agricultural land and is a supporter of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission's So. Maryland, So Good program that promotes local farms.
"The Kids Cook program was designed to bring students directly into contact with farmers to learn about the importance of Southern Maryland's rich agricultural history in our economy," said Christine Bergmark, director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, which is part of the non-profit Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland.
"Educating young people and adults about the importance of buying locally grown and produced products is what we are all about. The Kids Cook program and our marketing campaign called So. Maryland, So Good are just two ways that we support local farming and other producers in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's counties," said Bergmark.
To find out more about the So. Maryland, So Good program, or the Kids Cook program, visit www.somarylandsogood.com, or call the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Staff at 301-274-1922.