While most children are not going to grow up to be farmers, they will be the next generation of stewards of the land. So the Farm Institute offers several summer programs for kids 2 to 15 that will give children experiences to last long after they leave the Island, including:
• Summer camp for ages 4 to 14,
• the Work Income Sharing Project (WISP) for ages 11 to 15,
• Wee Farmer days for ages 2 to 4,
• and teen apprenticeships.
The Farm Institute was voted the best kids’ activity on the Cape and Islands by Cape Cod Life both of the past two years. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging children and adults in sustainable agriculture.
Kids participate in farm chores, feed the animals, tend the vegetables, all the while learning to work with others and to develop a sense of self as they take ownership of the responsibilities they are given. They plant, nurture, harvest and prepare food from the garden; maintain and use the farm facilities and equipment; and participate in group activities which emphasize hands-on investigations exploring the cycles of life.
The Farm Institute believes in a ‘triad of experience’ — work, enrichment and enjoyment. Work installs the idea that if the child can take care of the farm, it will take care ofthem. Enrichment comes fromlearning. And children who have fun on the farm will be inspired to live with environmental responsibility.
Located at Katama Farm which consists of 162 acres near South Beach in Edgartown, the Farm facilitates carpooling its summer programs, which continue through the end of August. Scholarships are available. For details, see online farminstitute.org.