The RaVE team and adult volunteers demonstrated farming to many groups of school children who visited the farm on field trips in May and June. The overwhelming reaction from the children and teens is that they did not know that there was a farm in their neighborhood. Classroom teachers responded that after the trip they reinforced the messages that the children heard about growing food and how fresh vegetables can be a regular source of food in people’s diets. The teachers indicated that the concept of growing vegetables in the soil became a reality for the elementary school children when they saw this at the farm. The overwhelming majority of the children had not grown any of their own food.
Rainier Beach High School had three culinary arts class field trips and five science class field trips to the farm and the students proudly reported their farm labor. Among the many students introduced to urban farming, eight students worked the soil, including composting, shoveling, and mixing sand. Four students planted and watered the crops. Five students participated in harvesting and washing. Two students helped with food preparation, and two students cooked the vegetables.
The young visitors to the farm were enthusiastic about growing food that could be given to neighbors who did not have enough to eat. When the high school students were asked how they can use food to make a difference in the Rainier Beach community, four students stated that food brings people together. Four additional students responded that they can share their experiences with other people, such as how they ate more vegetables than meat. Two students connected serving organic food to lowering individuals’ risk for diseases such as obesity. Other students said that “starting our own farm” or selling local crops are also ways to make a difference to reduce hunger in the community.