Genie took us on a tour of the New Pioneer Co-op in Coralville. She told us how the store started as just a few individuals who wanted the freshest food grown without any added chemicals. We tasted some local vegetables (seen in the picture below) and we learned about a farm in Grinnell that had the BEST carrots! Genie also told us about Fair Trade: what it means for us and how to identify other items in the store. In asking the kids what was something they took away from the discussion, BJ says, "I learned what was in food coloring (tar) and now I don't eat anything with it in it! Also, our banana pickers get paid more than other banana pickers." Lucy says "I learned that the Co-op is the only store (in Iowa) that composts." Jack says, "I learned that tuna is threatened but that the customers want it so the Co-op still sells it. I also found out that recyclable spoons are much more expensive than plastic spoons. The Co-op is now using them!"
We went on a little excursion today. First stop was Stan's house to get some aged sheep manure. Stan is on the board for the Cosgrove Institute and has been a wonderful resource for us. Check out our pictures below !
Check out our first newsletter created by Jack and B.J.!
The class took advantage of the good weather this week and took a trip out to Red Bird Farms Wildlife Area very near to school. They went to a pond that receded due to the lack of water. The muddy edges had lots of frogs and Paula pointed out the clues to find a coyote den. They tried to walk through the sorghum field to Old Man's Creek but the burrs prevented them from continuing. Finally, they walked along a washout (Claire walking through tunnel). This was the kids’ favorite part since they had to crawl under the grass. The washout led them to the river, which instigated a discussion of how pesticides run off from the nearby farms and pollute Old Man's Creek. More questions arose relating to the environment, which will be further investigated next week.
Friday was a beautiful day for our trip to Wilson's Apple Orchard. We started at the school with our normal routine, but today, Laura was teaching for Paula! Paula was volunteering at Preucil for the day helping them make a pirate ship!
The Littles read some books on apples and BJ explored the internet for some information on Johnny Appleseed. He shared with us a short story about the man who is known for planting so many apple orchards in the midwest.
Then we headed out to the orchard! There were many other people there including preschools and young families. We explored on our own, wandering through the orchard looking for apples to pick. Although there were not supposed to be many apples to pick, we all filled our baskets. The kids also enjoyed eating as we walked and enjoyed the outdoors on such a beautiful day.
After picking our apples, we ate our lunches overlooking the orchard before heading to Laura's house. In Laura's kitchen, we made Apple Dumplings from the New Pioneer Woman's website. They were DELICIOUS and were eaten all up. While they cooked, we made some artwork with our apples doing apple prints.