Waldorf students in Miss Beekman’s Third Grade class recently completed an important hands-on lesson in sustainable agriculture.
Back in July – while many of their peers were enjoying summer vacation – the students were invited by Waldorf’s Gardening Teacher Mrs. Jeannine Davis to the Crossroads Farm at Grossmann’s in Malverne, New York. There the students harvested rye (a cereal grain similar to wheat) that had been planted last spring.
“After we harvested the rye, it was dried over the summer in the farm’s greenhouse,” said Third Grade Class Teacher Miss Kelly Beekman. “When we returned to school in the fall, we continued the farming lesson by studying the many tasks that happen on a farm during all the seasons of the year.”
In class, the students learned about the entire farming process: from plowing the soil, sowing the seeds, and harvesting the grain, to threshing the grain, winnowing the kernals and bringing the grain to the mill where it is then made into flour. Applying the lesson to their real-world projects, the entire process started in the summer came to its conclusion last week. The students took the grain (the same grain they harvested back in July), threshed it, and then milled it into flour using hand mills. Finally, after five months of careful and patient work, they baked the bread into individual loaves and brought them home to share with their families – just in time for Thanksgiving.