Small Scale, Big Heart
The Little Seeds Farm School urban farm is one of the things that makes our program so unique. We have worked hard to utilize our small plot to the fullest and this labor of love has paid off in a beautiful space for our students to learn in.
Each season, we undertake a new farming journey with our children and partner with them to create sustenance for them and their families with their own two hands. Together we learn about the rhythms of spring, summer, fall and winter and get our students excited about the healthy, natural foods that are the foundation of a balanced life.
Every student at Little Seeds Farm School is in charge of their own individual raised bed garden space in which they create a unique mini food plot. In these gardens, we teach our students about the flawless harmonies of a balanced ecosystem and spark an inquisitive desire for learning, a respect for the environment and the value of patience and persistence in life.
Our farm layout utilizes the French Intensive style of biodynamic agriculture which allows us to organically maximize food production on our small space.
Organic and Biodynamic
The Little Seeds urban farm is committed to organic and biodynamic small-scale agriculture.
So what does this mean?
Organic farms reject the use of chemical fertilizers and pest control agents as unhealthy for humans and the planet. Stewardship of the land without the use of chemicals is an art and science that our forebears appreciated as the responsible means of interacting with our environment.
Biodynamic farming takes the organic tradition a step further. In following the biodynamic principles, Little Seeds views our farm as a single organism, whose success or failure hinges on the health of all it’s constituent parts. We grow a large portion of our animal’s feed on the property, which is then eaten and returned to the land as fertile compost. We team up with a hardworking group of red wiggler worms to break down food scraps and use the resulting rich soil to grow the healthiest veggies around. We grow cold-hardy cover crops during the winter that are then turned into the soil come spring where they release their nutrients for the next generation of crops.
This cycle of life is something that many children are no longer exposed to and Little Seeds Farm School strives to reconnect our students with this fundamental harmony of nature. Our farm is the perfect teaching ground to work with our little ones on discovering this beautiful world.
At Little Seeds Farm School we are proud of our American farming heritage. To protect the planet’s biological diversity in our own small way, we grow only heirloom variety crops on our urban farm.
For farmers, “heirloom” is more than just a fancy marketing term for summertime tomatoes – it represents those plants with a genetic heritage that stretches back to the early days of human agriculture. These precious varieties are preserved year after year through a seed-saving tradition that is one of the most important agrarian practices as well as a lesson in patience and natural wisdom that we use as a teaching point for our students.
The barnyard gang at Little Seeds Farm School are heritage breeds, meaning they are members of an unbroken lineage of animals that have served our homesteads and communities for centuries. Preservation of these cherished breeds is an important part of our farm’s mission.
What We Grow
Teacher Geoff is always experimenting with new plants at Little Seeds Farm but we certainly have our share of favorites that grace our soil year after year.
Here are our top 5 farm specialties:
1. Carrots – We love Uprising Seeds Rainbow Carrot Mix. Children already know they love crunching on raw carrots for a snack and at Little Seeds they get to pull their favorite vegetable from the ground and guess at which gorgeous color they might get!
2. Lettuce – Lettuce grows unbelievably crisp and sweet in Portland’s mild climate and we take full advantage of this by planting rows and rows of every type of heirloom variety that we can get our hands on. Our all-time favorite is Forellenschluss (an Austrian heirloom with a name meaning Speckled Trout), a fun variety of green lettuce adored with small red-purple spots. We love growing little boxes of mixed lettuces that our children tend to and then bring home for dinner.
3. Greens – We can’t get enough kale at Little Seeds Farm School! Even kids dig some of our preparations of this nutritional champion such as adding leafy greens to a fruit smoothie or juice or sauteeing with garlic and oil for a pasta topping. We also grow a plethora of cabbage, swiss chard, mustard, broccoli and more!
4. Peppers – Peppers are sweet and crunchy – a combo that all kids love. We adore growing them with our students as they are dramatic in their bright colors and unique shapes. Our favorite for fresh eating is the Ethem Sweet Long Pepper and for roasting we love the King of the North bell pepper.
5. Herbs – Our herb beds are a perennial favorite and a place where our students can learn about smell and touch. Herbs are a true sensory experience and we are sure to use them in as many arts and crafts as possible to unlock their wonderful aromas and textures. At various times throughout the year you can find us cultivating parsley, cilantro, thyme, basil, sage, oregano, mint, chamomile and more.
Meet Our Animals
The Girls: Egg-Laying Champions!
Our four egg-celent hens! These ladies were raised from chickhood right here at Little Seeds Farm School and have been entertaining and feeding us ever since. They are one year old which means they are smack in the middle of their first egg-laying season. Their diet of local, organic grain seed combined with bugs and plants they find on their free-range adventures means that they produce a plethora of delicious, nutrient-dense eggs for our enjoyment. Little Seeds Farm School will also soon be receiving several fertilized eggs that will be naturally brooded, hatched and raised by our mother hens – a great learning experience for our students!