Last time you were at the market did you interview a farmer? Or find a fruit or vegetable that you’ve never seen at the grocery store? These kids did, as part of an interactive scavenger hunt through Watertown-based Vacation Garden School at the Church of the Good Shepard. The camp is now in its third year, and has visited the Belmont Farmer’s Market each summer.
The 29 campers are outside most of the day, says Reverend and camp director Amy McCreath, and activities focus on appreciating the wonders of nature in the world around them. The kids are from Watertown, Belmont, and Waltham and range from three-and-a-half to eleven years of age. Each day the older kids, called “Junior Counselors”, take a field trip to places like The Mt. Auburn Cemetery or The Charles River.
At the Farmer’s Market the campers were split into groups to explore. Each group interviewed a farmer, asking questions like “What insects help/hurt your plants?” or “Why should people buy food from you rather than Walmart or Shaws?”. They were also given some money to pick out a new and interesting food to share with the rest of the group.
McCreath, whose daughters participate in the camp, describes the annual trip as “a highlight”, where the campers have the chance to try new foods and learn about the sources of what they eat. “I love seeing kids dancing around, reporting on ‘how awesome’ fennel or raw corn or Japanese turnips are!”