The Farm Institute has a number of new programs planned for the coming summer.
One is called Mabel to Table, Vineyard Heritage Week, and will run from July 6 to 10 for young farmers aged 13 to 17. Drawing from the farm-to-table theme, the Farm Institute is looking backward in time to preserve a way of life and sustainable practices that can be experienced today. Children in this summer program will spend the first two days harvesting vegetables at the farm. They then will walk down to Katama Bay with their harvest and get on board a traditional 28-foot wooden sailing vessel reminiscent of the Nomansland fishing boats of the 1890s. Depending on the tide, they may sleep on the boat and before sailing their food to the farmers’ market on the wharf in Vineyard Haven; there they will sell their produce. After the market, the seafaring farmers will sail back to the farm and plant the next crop of vegetables.
Other summer programs run from June 22 to August 28 and include:
• Work Income Sharing Project for gardeners ages 11 to 15, adding spring and fall as a three-season program. With the inauguration of a new 2,100 square-foot greenhouse at the farm, teenagers will be able to produce more vegetables during a much longer growing season and increase their profits. What they don’t sell, they donate to Island food banks and senior centers, taking an active role in feeding the community.
• Future Farm Hands is a program expressly tailored to the interests of young farmers ages 11 to 15. The program will offer more general farm projects dealing with livestock, gardens, facilities and equipment, with one day each week spent working on a different Island farm.
• Full and half-day camp. Children ages 6 to 14 will participate in farm chores, feed the animals, tend the vegetables, cook, spin wool and more.
• Sprouts, ages four and five, are invited to share in the wonder of the farm. They will learn where their food comes from, work in the garden plot and help care for animals.
• Wee Farmers is for ages two to four, accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children will work on fine and gross motor skills as well as socialization while learning about their farm.
• Farmers for a day, ages 6 to 14. Children will spend a few hours on the farm to complete farm chores and tend the animals.
To learn more about the Farm Institute’s programs or sign up for summer camp programs, drop by the farm, visit farminstitute.org or call 508-627-7007.