Farm to Summer Camp
Adding Farm to Summer activities to a summer camp program is a wonderful way to reconnect kids to the food they eat!
Planning for Summer Camp Activities
Be sure to include these considerations when planning a farm to summer camp program.
- When planning for a part-day or a full-day activity schedule be sure to consider the age group(s) of your campers! Younger children with shorter attention spans do well with short bursts of activity, while older kids manage longer instruction and activity times.
- Develop a focus for your farm to summer program. You can utilize multiple focus areas, but be sure each focus area leads well into the next. An example would be a garden or farm focus tied to nutrition and ecology: 1) growing food, 2) preparing and tasting foods, 3) identifying what each food does for your body and 4) what roles the foods play in ecology.
- Always make it hands-on to encourage kids to repeat these activities at home or at a school garden.
- Remember the golden rule: Kids need rest and play time to balance out their day! Physical activities should always be balanced with quiet time activities or relaxation time. Incorporating play into the day will keep your kids attention focused and allow them to be “wild” and enjoy creativity at their own personal level.
Sourcing Local for Summer Camp
Ways to source local foods for summer camps, summer programs and summer feeding all depends on the size of your program, how many children you are feeding daily, and your location. The list below will help you to find local food sources that fit your program.
- The Illinois Farm to School Network provides a Local Food Procurement toolkit which assists in locating foods and using local foods in menus and recipes.
IF YOU BUY FOOD FOR SUMMER MEALS FIND LOCAL AT
- school or community gardens
- a local farmer’s market, find one close to you here
- area farms and urban farms
- purchase a CSA share in February, prior to the summer months. You can find Illinois CSA farms here.
- your broadline & area produce distributors food hubs & aggregators
- your local grocery outlets
IF YOU RECEIVE FOOD FROM A VENDOR
- Ask your food provider to source locally through the summer for your feeding program. Share procurement tips from our website
- Share search engines to locate local food:
AMS USDA Regional Food Directory
Local Harvest or MarkerMaker
Il Farmers Market Association
OTHER WAYS TO BUY LOCAL
- Ask your grocery or produce market to supply local summer veggies for taste tests.
- Use the local veggies from a community or school garden for taste tests.
- Connect to the Master Gardeners in your county through IL Extention