A “Didactical Farm” in the heart of the Marche

Didactical training and workshop courses held at the Holiday Farm IL GELSO in Fabriano

The “Didactical Farm” project proposed by the Holiday Farm IL GELSO of Fabriano is open to all schools via the program promoted by the Regione Marche (Regional Board) dealing with Innovation and Experimentation aimed at the environment, culture, tourism and ruralism aspects.

Children’s contact with the animals, the land and the plants promotes participation in learning and increases their sensitivity towards nature, stimulating their senses, responsibility and allows them to appreciate the daily hard work of the farmer.

On the basis of these learning tools the Holiday Farm IL GELSO is open to welcoming student groups from Fabriano, Cerreto d’Esi, Sassoferrato, Macerata, Ancona and from all areas in the Marche accompanied by their teachers, aimed at broadening their knowledge of one or more specific aspects of the farm, the rural and naturalistic environment of the territory surrounding the working farm.

The themes dealt with in the didactical course

  • Farming, work and social role of the Farmer
  • Vegetable and animal life
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Educating consumer awareness
  • Respecting the environment
  • Recycling and separate collection of urban waste

The “Didactical Farm” proposes didactical workshops for the schools which involve practical activities and first hand experiences.
Direct contact with farm life and animals: the possibility to relate with the farmyard animals present at the farm (cattle, horses, donkeys and farmyard animals) and observe vegetable varieties in their natural environment;
Personal growth: generating a memory, an emotion in those that spend a day in touch with the rural world.

Didactical workshops and training courses

Bearing in mind the didactical preferences of each individual schools, didactical training and workshop courses are flexible: it is possible to modify or welcome suggestions for attaining their fixed goals.

The proposed courses that involve a workshop may also be tackled without practical activity and instead replaced by a guided visit at the farm.

During the activities the children are guided by qualified personnel, by the farm managers and by workers whom, with their first hand knowledge of the rural environment are able to transmit their passion for their jobs, the environment and nature.

The fragrant garden

broadening children’s knowledge of aromatic herbs and plants cultivated in our environment, discovering their uses in the kitchen, cosmetics and herbal remedies, stimulate their sense of smell.

Covered containers are prepared, so that the contents are not visible, where leaves of scented plants are introduced. The students have to guess the plant using their sense of smell. After various attempts the plants are shown so that the students may connect the scent to the plant; the plant is then drawn. The work done on paper by the students is theirs to keep.

Hands on Pasta!

Learning by practice; working in groups; expressing their creativity; rediscover the importance of the sense of touch; re-discovering traditions; learning about nutrition and choice of food; learning to eat healthy.

This activity illustrates the more popular types of cereals (grains, corn, etc.) in the nutrition field and the products derived from cereals. Wheat is described in detail describing its organic cycle, crop cultivation, demonstrating their evolution (via traditional equipment once used; current farming machines, visiting the farm’s machine park) and their processing to obtain flour.

In order to develop the student’s manual skills, making bread is used as an example (with explanations relative to the ingredients, with an experiment on yeast) leading the students to a practical exercise where they will have the opportunity to make a pizza, being provided with all the necessities, which they will be able to eat at the end.

Savouring the Vegetable Garden

Learning the production cycle of plant foods from the earth to the table;
Organic cycle of cultivated crops: sowing, germination, flowering, pollination, fruit development, harvesting, processing and its use in the kitchen;
The soil: an environment rich with life;
Agricultural procedures needed to develop the plant:
Uses of natural substances as fertilizers;
Basis of a healthy and nutritious diet.

The farm has an organic vegetable garden where the vegetables used in the kitchen are cultivated.

On the basis of the seasonal and weather trends the students will be guided through the vegetable garden where they may carry out, always in safe working conditions, the various cultivation operations using appropriate farm equipment.
Soil samples are taken to carry out simple soil analysis such as the texture, structure, profile and soil organisms, from the use of the earthworm to the damages caused by the snail. The method to promote the useful orgnisms and ward off the harmful organisms.

Natural areas

Walking among the surrounding farm area it is possible to evaluate different farming activities relative to:
Animal and vegetable biodiversity in the forest environment, river environment and cultivated fields;
Forest: timber;
The function of the vegetal species: protection from erosion and pollution; as a life environment for animals.

Gathering and recognition of the vegetal species.

The meat route

Teach the student:

  • To respect animals (cattle, horses, donkeys);
  • All the necessary treatments and care for health and wellbeing of the animal, its feeding and breeding techniques;
  • The importance of meat proteins in our diet.

Meat production, preparation of the primary produce for the production of cold meats (salamis, prosciutto, sausages, etc. in relation to the seasonal period).

The student will be in direct contact with the animals and their life habitat.

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Description of farmyard animals: their feeding, breeding habitat, correlated production.
Guided visits to the chicken pen and other farmyard animals.

Gathering the eggs and preparing a ‘frittata’ (omelet) to cook and eat together.