The Learning Farm: Connecting Kids to the Land

Connecting children and families to the land is a primary goal of the Learning Farm.

Based in Ithaca, the farm focuses on exposure to the outdoors and education about the natural world. It is also a juicery, and the Learning Farm Juicery grew out of a desire to see healthier juices on the market for children. 

Apple tree on the Learning Farm.

Pete and Christa live and work on the farm with their kids Channah, Chloe, and Paxon. They also have an Angora rabbit, Butterscotch, and a chicken named Sunrise. Christa also works for The Youth Farm Project for the Fresh Snack Program and partners with Groundswell in the Finger Lakes Land Access, Reconciliation & Reparation Working Group.

Christa poses with her family and their Angora rabbit, Butterscotch, on the Learning Farm Ithaca, NY.

In 2018, the farm began offering a summer program — STEAM-in-Nature — which “combin[es] innovative science, technology, engineering, art, agriculture, and math with healthy outdoor play.” The program gives children hands-on experience with technology and social and environmental activism. 

Christa and Pete’s daughter, Chloe, posing with the family’s chicken, Sunrise.

Scholarships are available to students qualifying for free and reduced lunch and students from BIPOC-identifying families (black, indigenous, people of color). The farm seeks to make its programs accessible to people of color and other groups who often face barriers to accessing and owning land due to reasons of colonization and immigration. 

A new orchard was recently planted and is expected to begin bearing fruit in 2020. A free U-Pick will be available to families participating in the farm’s programs.

Pete and Christa hope that the Learning Farm serves as a place for “for community, a place to gather.”