Youth get chance to learn about food process, origins
BY ALVIN REINER Press-Republican
WESTPORT — In an effort to acquaint campers with the environment, Camp Dudley has been taking youths in their Farm to Plate program on farm tours.
Devin Morgan, a volunteer at DaCY Meadow Farm, which is run by Cynthia and David Johnston, showed the campers how they control weeds using biological methods. This included growing crops such as corn and squash together, which lessens the chance of unwanted species taking root.
David informed the campers of farming’s historic perspectives in the New World, which included the indigenous people, such as the Iroquois, learning to be farmers rather than hunters and gatherers. The Native Americans planted the “Three Sisters” — beans, corn and squash — and rotated the crops to keep the fields fertile.
“We try to plant heritage crops and raise heritage livestock, some of which date back to before 1492. Many people like us want to maintain the old breeds,” he said.
He also discussed genetic modifications and cross-breeding species.
Morgan showed the visitors a small greenhouse he had constructed utilizing clear plastic sheeting. He explained how structures such as this extend the growing season, especially in a colder climate.
Morgan brought the campers to the area where the farm composts and showed the process, from newly deposited vegetative matter to high-nutrient soil.
Dudley staff member Dylan Pollock explained the camp’s program.
“Our Farm to Plate program started last year. Dudley had a garden and then expanded this to trips to the farm. This is a good way for the campers to see where their food is coming from.”
Johnston was enthused about the Dudley program.
“This is stuff I taught at a community-college level, and these guys understand it.”
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