The Princeton Montessori Farm to School program connects students to the land, helps them learn about where food comes from and gain awareness of healthier food choices, and encourages them to become stewards of their local environment. This year’s Farm-to-School programming has been virtual.
Lower Elementary students have their very own Hatching Center and are patiently waiting for the big day! They are learning about:
• Life Cycle of a Chicken
• Eggs – Where do they come from? • Parts of an egg • Appearance varies, just like the chickens who lay them (shell color, shape, size) • Nutrition
• Embryology – 21-day development of a chick
• What does a developing chick need to thrive? • Conditions for hatching (provided naturally by a broody hen or controlled in an incubator) • Conditions for brooding • What do chicks eat?
The students had a virtual meeting with Farmer Maia to learn more about the life cycle of a chicken at a farm and about ‘candling’ eggs. They used a special egg candling tool to take a peek inside of the eggs to view the development of the chick. They are expecting the eggs to hatch next week – stay tuned!
Upper Elementary, students are studying the various methods of mushroom production. During a recent Zoom session, Farmer Vishal Pathak showed the class the entire life cycle of inoculating a shiitake mushroom log. He virtually walked the students around the existing mushroom yard full of shiitake logs, showing them the uninoculated logs and explaining to them how they were sourced from a local tree company saving the material from becoming waste. He talked about the process of drilling holes into a shiitake log, filling it with mushroom spawn, and covering it with food wax. He explained to the students how the mushroom spawn is being introduced directly into the Cambrian layer of the wood in order to access the nutrients and colonize the log. He pointed out the shiitakes that were ready to be picked. The session ended with a question and answer session and the students asked Farmer Vishal many good questions about the mushrooms.