Owen County 4-H Fishing Team Creates Hands-On Farming Lesson for Younger Kids

Published: May 10, 2024
Owen County 4-H YES Grant project

It started with a post Rain Newman saw on Facebook. “How come we still need farmers when you can just buy things from the grocery store?” Whether the question was serious or sarcastic, it sparked an idea in her mind.

“There are probably some people out there who might believe this,” Rain said. “So, I had this idea to create a hands-on experience for young children to learn about where food really comes from.”

Rain, who grew up eating fruits and vegetables grown on her family farm, knew she had the perfect location for the project. She fleshed out the idea with her fellow Owen County 4‑H Fishing Team members and applied for a YES Grant from the Indiana 4‑H Foundation to make the project a reality.

In the summer of 2023, the group invited four daycare centers to visit Rain’s farm for a day of hands-on learning and fun. “We had more than 100 kids, from two years old to nine,” Rain shared.

Each of the groups participated in a series of five rotations. “At the main rotation, I talked to the children about the food system and how manure can be used and fertilizer. Then they were able to pot their own vegetables and flowers that they could take home,” said Rain.

The children also enjoyed a hayrack ride with Rain’s grandfather, decorated cookies, played in a bounce house and read to the family’s sheep. “Many of the children had never been on a farm, so it was really neat to see how much fun they were having in a new environment.”

It was not just the children who learned a lot that day. The entire team walked away with some valuable lessons. “As a group, we learned about time management and solving problems in the moment,” Rain said. “We didn’t have as much time to set up between groups as we thought we’d have, so we had to make some quick changes to ensure the groups had a good experience.”

Overall, the Learn to Grow project was a success. “The daycare center directors were really grateful for the experience,” said Rain. “Some of them kept the plants in the classrooms so they could watch the plants grow together. A lot of the kids asked if they could come back!”

Rain and her fellow Owen County 4‑H Fishing Team members are grateful for the donors who helped make the project a reality. “This just wouldn’t have been possible without the support of donors. We put a lot of time and effort into the day, but without the donations we couldn’t have afforded the proper materials, like the plants and pots, and snacks for the kids. We owe them a big THANK YOU!”

For more details about YES Grants, visit in4h.org/grants