September 2014

Dear Network Members and Friends,


We hope your summer was filled with tasty discoveries, rewarding work, and most of all, time to play! 


We look forward to hearing what inspired you this summer and how you will be integrating those ideas and discoveries into your programming.  With "conference season" upon us, we also look forward to seeing you at one of our farm-based education workshops, or hearing where you're headed.



Vera Simon-Nobes, FBEN Coordinator,
and the FBEN team  
 Crops not Cubicles 

August was a busy month for discussion on "economic inequities and contradictions embedded in our food system," as described in Bren Smith's August 9 Opinion piece in The New York Times, "Don't Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers."  The FBEN recognizes the challenges of producing food for a society that has been accustomed to paying food prices that are based on highly subsidized, large-scale agriculture. Farm-based educators play an important role in teaching communities what it takes to raise food and its true costs.


Several thoughts were published in response to Smith's article, namely, Jenna Woginrich's, "Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers," in the Huffington Post. We also liked Jennifer McTiernan's letter to the Editor in the New York Times, in which she writes, "The onus is better placed on all of us eaters to support healthy, local food and the viability of the local farm economy through policy change aimed at the root causes of our unsustainable food system." Read her full response, Ken Cook's response, and see another take from the AP on the rising numbers of young people who are choosing crops instead of cubicles. 

Q&A with Sophia Maravell

"The most rewarding part of my work is when a student leaves saying 'I want to be a farmer when I grow up,'or 'I'm going to start a garden at home!' I also love when a student is able to jump to test a hypothesis based on their curiosity and engagement in the natural environment," writes Sophia Maravell, Education Director at Brickyard Educational Farm in Potomac, Maryland.  Read more from the Q&A with Sophia Maravell. 

Student Loan Stories

The National Young Farmers Coalition is collecting stories about the effect of student loan debt on the next generation of farmers and ranchers. They want to hear from both farmers managing debt and those whose debt prevented them from farming.

Your experiences will inform their strategy for student loan policy reform. 


Please share your story!

Study Tour 

From August 28 to September 3, FBEN Coordinator, Vera Simon-Nobes, participated in a study tour in Denmark.  The trip coincided with Harvest Feast, a weekend when organic farms around the country open their doors to the public. The trip took the group to several farms, including Fuglebjerggaard, a diverse organic farm run by Camilla Plum. She offers "pick your own" as well as a café, restaurant, cookery school and courses in gardening and team-building. Fuglebjerggaard is home to one of the largest organic seed banks in Northern Europe. 

Playing with tools at a Harvest Feast celebration, Krogerup, Denmark.


The group also visited Aarstiderne, co-founded by Thomas Harttung, who melds food and farm education with a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, and provides shares to 40,000 households. Harttung believes that the future for young farmers is bright, and promotes a model where aspiring farmers gain access to farmland through leasing.

At Aarstiderne, the group took in the Haver til Maver project (Garden to Stomach), where kids made habitat boxes, used tools to work on logs and prepared snacks to share with passers by. The tour visited a few sites that former FBE coordinator, Erica Curry, visited in 2012, and it was great to see the progress that was made since then.


It was exciting to see examples of how direct sale models are bringing consumers close to their food sources, and the exciting ways farmers in another part of the world are engaging their communities through farm-based education. Photos from the trip! 

Veggie Art

Too lovely not to share: Krista Young, a former student in the Live Earth Discovery Farm Program, (and face-painter extraordinaire), recently launched her new website to showcase her art. Young writes, "Art and the exploration of the creative process were pivotal aspects of my childhood and education, especially at such a young, receptive age, and I intend to contribute to making it an integral part of education for all children."


Live Earth Discovery Farm Program in Watsonville, CA serves more than 1500 children each year for farm-based, hands-on learning opportunities in a variety of formats. 

Fall Course: ABC's of Farm-Based Ed

Shelburne Farms will be hosting a 3-day workshop for farm-based educators from around the country this fall, October 19 - 21. 


Whether you're just starting to explore how you might open your farm for education or are farther along, come join the group to discover fun, hands-on tools for engaging farm visitors.  Activities and program ideas are based on Shelburne Farms' resources, Project Seasons and Cultivating Joy and Wonder.


To learn more and register:

 featured Photo

NPR's, The Salt, shared a great story  on growing giant vegetables in the Land of the Midnight Sun (Alaska). Here's the feature photo, courtesy of Alaska State Fair.
in this Issue
Crops not... Cubicles
Q&A Member Spotlight
Student Loan Stories
Study Tour
Veggie Art
Farm-Based Ed. Fall Course
Featured Photo
get involved
   FB_logotwitter bird
conversations and 

An article on the importance of "play" by Shelburne Farms Educator, Linda Willings


FBEN Listserv

Subscribe by emailing



Civil Eats Profile on LEAF 

A look at a Pennsylvania program that is teaching rural teens to farm. 


Food Day Twitter Chats

Stay tuned to #FoodDayChat, where they host guests such as the Food Chain Workers Alliance and Center for Science in the Public Interest. 


The Nation's leading source of agricultural and food law research and policy. 

Educational resources help farmers identify issues, break them down into manageable steps, and give farmers the confidence to move forward

Honda makes grants to programs that benefit youth and scientific education. Next applications are due November 1, 2014.

National Association of Geoscience Teachers
This website helps promote models for effective educational geoscience field trips, along with an archive of field guides for future reference.  
October 2

Ottawa, Canada
October 8 - 11

Shelburne, VT
October 19 - 21
Green Teacher Webinar: Transformative Education
October 21


Terra Madre - Salone del Gusto

Turin, Italy 

October 23 - 27


A Conversation with Will Allen and Michael Pollan 

Milwaukee, WI

November 7


North American Biodynamic Conference

Louisville, KY

November 13 - 16


ABC's of Farm-Based Education

Fort Collins, CO

March 28-29 2015. 

Final date TBD! 

View events page for more!
job Opportunities
Pullman, WA

Tamworth, NH

Los Angeles, CA

Ipswich, MA

Kapau'au, HI

Austin, TX

Muir Beach, CA

St. Paul, MN

Graham, NC

View jobs page for more!

Shelburne Farms serves as the backbone organization for the FBEN.