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Service, Learning and Vegetables Create Outdoor Classroom

September 12, 2018
By Andrea Schrock Wenger
Eastern Mennonite High Schol Family and Consumer
Science students sort vegetables ​​​​​​at Seasons Bounty
Farm. Photo by Andrew Gascho

When Radell Schrock -- Season’s Bounty Farm owner -- shared about a family medical emergency with his congregation of Zion (Virginia) Mennonite, it unleashed a support network that resulted in student service and learning, and fresh vegetables on hundreds of tables.

“The support from Eastern Mennonite School was a surprise, and has been terrific,” says Schrock, whose wife is hospitalized following a brain injury. “The student, teacher and administrative volunteers have been really appreciated,” says Schrock. The support allowed him to spend time at the hospital and be sure the couple’s infant daughter is well cared for.

Paul Leaman, head of school, learned of Schrock’s situation through their church network. In short order, he arranged for eight students to join him the next morning at the farm, just north of Harrisonburg. The students dug right in, literally, and “were a real help,” according to Schrock, in getting ready for Schrock’s stand at the Harrisonburg Farmers’ Market the next day.

Anna Haarer, Food and Consumer Science teacher
enjoyed a change of scenery as much the sudents.

The following week, Anna Haarer’s food science and nutrition class, spent three class periods at the farm preparing baskets for Schrock’s vegetable subscription pick up, later that day. The students have been studying food consumer habits and discussing what it means to eat local, according to Haarer, a 2009 EMHS graduate and current family and consumer science teacher.

“It was an excellent learning experience,” says Haarer, who was once a student of Schrock’s when he taught earth and physical science at the school. “You can tell Radell really cares about what he is doing. Growing beautiful, nutritious food for local consumption is his passion,” observed Haarer.

The students were a “seven out of 10” on wanting to do this kind of work again for the class, reports Haarer. “It was good to see how the vegetables are prepared and what goes in the subscription boxes,” says a Drake Heatwole ‘21. “It fit with what we are learning about nutrition and eating local.” And, he adds, “working outside was a great change from the classroom!”

Drake Heatwole '21, Anna Haarer, Family and
Consumer Science teacher discuss the subscription
boxes with Radell Schrock, of Seasons Bounty Farm.
Photo by Andrew Gascho.

The produce at Season’s Bounty is grown without pesticides and sheep are raised on grass. The products are  sold primarily through Harrisonburg Farmers Market, through CSA subscription boxes, to numerous local restaurants, the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction, The Woods Edge Farm Stand and the Friendly City Food Cooperative.

 

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