GEORGETOWN — Kindergartners and first-graders from the Georgetown Boys and Girls Club were transported into a world filled with color and agriculture as they stepped into the Ag Lab trailer, decorated with pictures of plants and food.
Their eyes widened at the sight of, surprisingly, vegetables.
The 24-foot-long trailer, which was donated from the Delaware Department of Agriculture, invites children 5 to 12 years old across Delaware to educate themselves on how the food they eat is grown.
Kali Voshell, Delaware Farm Bureau coordinator and head of the Ag Lab, taught the children and adults things they might not have known about what they eat every day. This opportunity allows the children to have fun and learn without being in a classroom.
Ms. Voshell listed that as one of the best things about the labs. She also said she loves seeing the kids’ expressions when they try the different activities.
In Georgetown, there were several sessions split by age group that lasted about 25 to 30 minutes each. The same activities were performed during each session.
First, each child was placed at their own station and given a pea pod in a cup. Then, they opened lunch boxes filled with plastic fruits, vegetables and other foods. Next, Ms. Voshell asked them to associate a piece of food with one of the five food groups. The kids scrambled to find various foods whether it be an apple, a piece of bread or even a piece of pie. Also, the children learned about agriculture through lessons about farming and healthy eating.
The children also learned about the four common soils in Delaware: clay, rocky, loam, and sand. Since the Ag Lab is an interactive experience, the children were able to feel the soils and notice the differences. They learned what soil different plants grow best in.
Throughout the lab, children would talk about their connections to agriculture. Whether it was through their grandfather’s farm or a friend of theirs, each child understood the lessons they were being taught.
“The kids enjoyed the presenters and that they learned things they did not know before,” Renee Hickman, director of the Georgetown Boys and Girls Club, said.
After coming back inside the trailer, Ms. Voshell showed the students how the pea pod they got in the beginning of the session had grown. The kids were so amazed to see how much water the pea pod soaked up. Lastly, the students were given a radish seed and instructions on how to take care of it so that they could see a plant grow.
The Ag Lab showed how important it is to learn about agriculture no matter what age. Even the workers at the Boys and Girls Club were surprised to gain information from the various lessons.
Intern Abby Edwards explained that it was good for the children to “associate knowledge outside the school building” and that “agriculture is the basis of everything.”
Those were important themes expressed throughout the lab. It is important to both Ms. Voshell and Ms. Edwards that the children understand how their food gets from the farm to their home and how interesting that journey is.
“Most students in school learn about music and art, but none of them learn about agriculture,” said Ms. Edwards.
To schedule an Ag Lab visit, call 302-697-3183.
This article was produced with support of a grant from the Delaware Community Foundation. For more information, visit delcf.org/journalism.