Articles, Blog

Farm to School at Briggs Elementary

I’m at Briggs Elementary School in Florence with some students in the Farm to School
program. I’m gonna learn what they enjoy most about being in this program. Is there an insect that you’ve learned a lot about in this program? Mmm hmm. Tell me about it. A bee. And if you don’t mess with a bee it won’t mess with you. So you’ve learned to treat them with respect? Yes ma’am. And what do bees do and make that you really enjoy? Honey. I like bees because it just looks cool the way they pollinate the flowers. The only reason why bees are important is because they help us eat. So if bees weren’t on this planet, People wouldn’t be on this planet. Well tell me about the animals that you enjoy. Chickens. What you like about chickens? How they act and how they help our environment. What I like about chickens is that, they, how hard it is to catch them. Then you have to run around and catch food. You have a beautiful garden right outside your school and I bet you like to watch the plants grow. We planted tomatoes, peppers – We, There were like two plants that were already growing so we made holes and put like seeds in it. And then they started like growing a little bit. When you go out to the garden do you sometimes taste things that are growing there? Tell me some of the things that you tasted that you liked? I’ve tasted kale, bell peppers and blueberries. Tell me what you tried that’s good. Cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and blueberries. You’ve tried a lot of things. How do you like to eat your cucumbers? Sometime raw and sometimes with vinegar. I tried a kumquat plant. Whew. How was it? Very good and it tasted kinda like a Sweettart. And I also had a smoothie with juice, cabbage and frozen fruits. Come on. And was it delicious. Yeah. Wow! I think you two young ladies are
on special team here at Briggs. What is that team?
Composting. She’s a home composter I’m one of the school composters. Why is it important to compost. It helps sustain our environment instead of just putting it in a landfill and letting it burn up. It can go to our gardening, help us with our plants. Is it good for the soil? It’s extremely good for the soil. Because here Briggs we garden a lot and Mr Murrie also gardens over the summer. So if we have more soil then we’re better off in our garden. I want to thank ya’ll for what you’re doing for our environment. And for
starting off and setting such a good example. Thank you. ♪ We’re at Briggs Elementary School in Florence, South Carolina. I’m talking with Jeff Murrie. You are perhaps the only Related Arts Teacher who has a farm to school program in the
state. And probably the only one that’s holding a chicken right now talking to you as well. This wasn’t your career plan. No, it was not. I started off as a sixth grade social studies
teacher and did that for twenty something years and
then we applied for a South Carolina Farm to
School grant in two thousand fifteen and receive that grant and developed the garden that you see today. Two years ago we
decided to take it one step
further and we started a Related Arts class where all
the five hundred and fifty students we have at Briggs, they get to come and see
me one day a week. And we talk about sustainability, agriculture, the history of agriculture and we cook, we grow, we plant we take care of chickens. And
the kids have a great time. When this started I guess
traditionally with thinking that Florence which of course
was based on agriculture children now don’t
get out and don’t know anything about that. I think guess at first you just wanted them to become familiar with the soil and with the whole world of health plants? Right. Yeah. It’s sort
of sad, you know. we’re
right here in the heart of the Pee Dee and we have an
extremely strong heritage in agriculture but most of our children and the parents of these children have very little memory or contact with being on a farm or even participating in cropping tobacco
or any other type of crop. And the kids need to see where their
food comes from so they have a greater appreciation of food. They also have a, need to have a really great appreciation of the farmer and the
amount of work that goes in to bringing that crop from the field to the table. So we’re trying to teach nutrition, sustainability, responsibility climate, weather STEM goes into
what we’re doing as well But in the end the kids have a
great time interacting with the farm and even
getting their hands dirty. That’s one of the most interesting things just to watch a child with a trowel or a rake. Get into the dirt for the first
time. They’re pretty scared of it. Jeff a lot of kids won’t try anything new. And their parents say, ‘Well, you don’t like that. I’m not give it to you.’ Is there a strong correlation
between watching planting a seed watching something grow and
being willing to risk a taste of something new
and strange. Yeah that’s one of my biggest pet peeves is
that I hear parents say all the time we’re not going to buy that. It costs too much and you’re not the like it anyway. And then I think has a child had the chance even
taste it yet? And most times they haven’t recently we had been seen from Department of Education come and talk to the
kids about growing mushrooms. And a lot of the kids have never eaten mushrooms. But we prepared them in class and then that afternoon. They went home they said, ‘Mom can we go to the
grocery store?’ And the mom was like, ‘Why are we going?’ I need to find Shitake mushrooms And the mom was like well you don’t eat Shitake mushrooms. And lo and behold. And the student was like yeah we do we ate them today in My. Murrie’s class. We have a sadly lack of physical
activity. And along with that weight gain in our population and sadly even reaches down to our children. Do you feel that the overall aspect the all
encompassing aspect of what you’re trying to do here is a
way that can serve as an example perhaps of a pattern
that we can follow to try to help children learn to make better
choices? That’s exactly one of things that we’re trying to do.
There’s so many different things that we attempt to do on a daily basis. But one of those is to teach children that the green things like you see the garden today especially the kale chips that we made in class, to eat healthier, to eat more fruits and vegetables. And that is a really big part. If they get in the garden and plant a seed, take care of a seed, nurture it and then they get to actually pick the bell pepper or the tomato from it, they just have a whole greater
sense of appreciation and respect which is also a
major part of what we’re trying to do. and they they learn that fast food is not where it’s at. That’s what we’re trying to do, is get them out
of the fast food line. What a remarkable school in that
even in the cafeteria, you’ve got people allowing you
to compost and in the classrooms everyone’s
brought into this. and that really ties in with
what you want a life long lesson on sustainability.
You help these children to be the future
of our planet. And that I think is the biggest reward that I’ve seen in
the few years that we’ve been doing this at Briggs is that children are going home, educating their parents, telling
their parents, ‘Hey let’s not throw that away. Let’s compost
that.’ And one of my students her mom and dad
have actually bought a small composter and they’re composting at home. I think what’s happening here is
instead of just giving mantras to children and having
them gather from massive dents, these children are as you said from the ground up learning what I think it’s going to be a
pattern to a way of life. I want to thank you for changing and making South Carolina better. And and for encouraging all of us who see this show to try to replicate some of the things you do at least with our children at our homes. Thank you Jeff Murrie. You’re welcome and anyone can
come visit. Come to Florence and visit the farm at Briggs and some chickens. (laughter) ♪ Farm to School

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *