The Harker School’s grade 1students took their annual trip to Johnson Farm in mid-October, a fully operating farm in the mountains surrounding Santa Cruz. Teacher Rita Stone said the farm is “deep in the forest. Gorgeous location.” The farm offers many opportunities to connect with nature, including growing Christmas trees that families can come and cut down during the holidays. The Johnson family has been running the farm for 45 years, and particularly emphasizes the educational trips it provides for children, to help them understand “the relationship between farming and day-to-day life.”
The first graders were joined by many parents and teachers, all of whom took advantage of everything the farm has to offer. Led by Farmer Rob, a person Stone described as “very warm, friendly and animated,” the group got to see an old barn where Farmer Rob demonstrated the process of shucking corn, and talked about some of the things corn is used for. Students were then allowed to walk the land and feed some of the animals, like chickens and goats.
The classes then boarded two hay wagons for a ride through the farm, which studenet Rick Lu said was his favorite part of the trip, “because Farmer Rob did some funny driving.” The ride ended in a pumpkin patch, where Stone says, “each student and adult got to pick their perfect pumpkin.”
Freddy Hoch and Andrew Reed, both in Cindy Proctor’s class, enjoyed this part of the trip. “It was fun saying ‘yoohoo’ when you wanted to get your pumpkin,” Reed said. Hoch added that he also liked “going through the corn field.”