Kids from the city and suburbs can be immersed in farm life at a camp offered this summer at Quinn Farm in Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot. At the Farm to School camp, kids will learn about agriculture and care for the farm’s goats, sheep, llamas and other animals.
Aimed at children between 6 and 13, the bilingual camp will teach kids about where food comes from as well as the importance of sustainable agriculture, nutrition and the environment.
The program is offered from mid-July to the end of August, and is run by students and recent graduates from McGill University’s Farm Management and Technology (FMT) program who have expertise in agricultural or environmental sciences, dietetics and nutrition or education. For the past three years, the camp was held at the university’s Macdonald campus, but it had to relocate because of construction on campus.
Caroline Begg, Director of Internships at the McGill FMT program, said the animators are passionate about the subjects and it shows in how they relate to and engage with campers.
There will be a particular theme each week, such as agricultural and environmental innovation, past and present methods of farming or raising animals.
“If you want to encourage your kids to be interested in science and also to get them thinking about healthy eating and where their food is coming from, then this is the camp for them,” Begg said.
During the Food Adventure weeks, children will learn where food comes from and what plant parts are edible. They will also learn about wild edible plants, pick food from the garden and gather what is produced at the mini farm. Kids will also take part in daily farming chores and get to know the goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, llamas, alpaca, horse and donkey, and learn about food science and nutrition.
During the Agriculture in Movement weeks, kids will learn about the evolution of agriculture, including both traditional and modern techniques. Through games and activities, campers will become aware of the environmental impacts of today’s farming methods, and the energy necessary for food production. Children will also create and manipulate agricultural tools and learn about alternative methods of agriculture, such as urban agriculture and permaculture.
Older children aged 10 to 13 with prior experience in the program or who already have a passion for or experience in agriculture, can enrol in Ag-Leadership weeks, which offer a deeper and more personalized project-based learning experience.
Begg said the camp aims to make agricultural science fun, through games and hands-on activities like creating paper from corn husks and learning to care for animals. “So many people are afraid of science,” Begg said. “We’re trying to focus on developing curiosity.
The camp costs $230 per week, with discounts for multiple week registration. For more information, visit ecole-o-champ.wixsite.com/farmtoschoolcamp.