Well Read FarmFemmes

I love to read! 

Generally speaking, Karen is more of a fan of non-fiction that I am.  However, she started me on some non-fiction at Christmas and I’ve been continuing the trend... My current reading list is:

Braving the Wilderness – The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone (Brené Brown)

The End of Average – How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness (Todd Rose)

Originals – How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant)

As you can tell from the titles, the theme of my reading lately has been about embracing your true self, and seeing the value in our own individuality.  This week, as we celebrate International Women's Day, my hope is that we can see the value in continuing to advocate for women's equality and celebrating women's achievements.

A colleague of mine often talks about two kinds of books: window books and mirror books.  Window books are a way to see out into the world, while mirror books are a way to see a bit of ourselves in the stories of others.  Whether you are reading fiction or non-fiction, window books or mirror books, I hope you find joy, power, inspiration and affirmation in your reading.

Let us know what you are reading, or what you would recommend, by commenting below.

Making sense of farming

We all have a lot to learn about farming - no matter if you are a farmer, farm extender, farm femme, farm agvocate or farm interested - there is always something more to learn.  One of the best ways to learn new things is to learn together with kids, because of their natural curiosity and willingness to “get right into it” with all of their senses.

Here are some suggestions for getting our senses going as we learn about farming with our kids:

  • See, touch, taste and smell: make a meal together

  • See: read fiction and non-fiction books about farm-life

  • See, touch and smell: take a farm tour (Open Farm day)

  • See, touch and taste: attend a farmers market

  • See, touch and hear: attend a “touch-a-tractor” event

  • See and hear: watch farmer-created YouTube videos

  • See, touch and smell: visit a greenhouse

  • See, touch, smell and taste: plant some seeds

When we engage our senses, we increase the connections in our brain and we strengthen our learning and the memories that we are developing.  We can also increase our learning by:

  • Talking about what we are experiencing
  • Noticing similarities and differences (to personal experiences or something you have read)
  • Connecting to an emotion (through memory or empathy )
The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.
— Alexandra K Trenfor


The Language of Learning- Words Matter

Our brains are busy hubs of activity.  There is a lot to pay attention to and farms are busy places. Our senses can be on overload – especially if we are not used to being on a farm.  Sometimes it can be hard to pay attention to the task at hand or to manage our emotions.

Here are some tips to remember when teaching kids (and adults too):

1.  Use positive language, in other words, tell them what you want them to do.

  • Wait until the truck is turned off and walk in front of the truck so that Dad can see you coming.
  • Get yourself to safety first, if you can, and then call 911.

2. Be specific.  Telling kids to “be good” or trainees to “be careful” does not help them to know what that looks like or sounds like.

  • You can ride along but you need to stay in your seat and be quiet to listen when someone is talking on the CB radio.
  • Pay attention to the power line that crosses the field and open your auger when you are clear of the lines.

3. Be real.  Get dirty and do experiments: plant seeds in the sandbox, dig up roots, open pods… And don’t expect every experiment to end in success.  It is important to let kids discover what works and what doesn’t.  The same is true of adults – that is the whole premise of field trials and research plots.  We want to try it for ourselves to see what works.  Kid’s experiments can be just for fun, but adult experiments should be more structured and intentional; although there still might be surprises!

  • Determine your purpose and focus before you start (minimize input costs, maximize yield, reduce people-power required to complete the task, increase protein, reduce fuel required).
  • Set parameters for experiments before you start to minimize risk (physical and financial).

 Finally, remember to have fun.  Hands-on learning is naturally fun.  Remember to let the fun happen.  Having a one-on-one lesson in the driver’s seat of the combine is way more interesting than reading about the combine in the manual. 


Have Fun &

Learn something...

The best way to learn about how plants grow is to get started and plant a seed.