An exciting idea related to re-introducing home economics as a way for children to learn more about food has been implemented by Hawlemont Elementary School in Charlemont, in the form of a farm- and food-focused curriculum. Strengthening students’ connection to food and their knowledge of food preparation is all part of the school’s plan. It’s not uncommon for students to learn about math, science, and other subjects while boiling sap, feeding goats, and making pickles, to name a few of the many activities that are part of their everyday school experience.
The Hawlemont Ag Initiative was started in 2014, with farming equipment and educator training programs funded in part through a $130,000 Community Innovation Challenge Grant. The school grounds now feature barns (complete with farm animals on loan from local farmers) as well as a greenhouse, chicken coop, and fruit and vegetable gardens. The support of community members and local farmers has been vital to the successful implementation of the Hawlemont Ag Initiative.