Teachers of the London Waldorf School have been taking their classes out of the city to Sunnivue Farm for over 15 years. Sunnivue, a certified organic farm, in Ailsa Craig, Ontario, is owned by R.O.S.E. (Redeeming Our Soil Economically), the first agricultural land trust in Canada, which cares for the farm’s land and buildings. The farm is located about 35 minutes from the city-centre of London and students from The London Waldorf School as well as Waldorf schools in Toronto and Detroit make camping out and working on the farm a regular part of their yearly schedule. As engaging in farm life is an established part of the Waldorf curriculum, Sunnivue is one of the gems of the London school community, as it is “the real deal” – a real, live working farm operation, complete with grazing cows, wandering chickens, piggies of various sizes and, most recently, a growing herd of water buffalo. An increasing number of school families, as well as a rapidly-growing base of dedicated customers from all over the region, make their way out to the farm on Saturdays to visit Sunnivue’s market garden and very active Farmstore, buying beautiful organic produce and meat, fresh baked goods, flowers and gifts – and usually staying on for extended visits – mom and dad with fair trade java in hand.
To watch a little one tug at his father’s shirt when it’s finally time for a jaunt to the barn to visit the brand new baby calves or to work alongside a little one as she learns, from the kind farmer, the delicate art of pulling weeds around the carrots her family will eventually purchase later that year for winter meals are visions to savour for us who look on. And for the children, this experience of spending time in nature unbridled; being in the midst of agriculture at its best and growing up with a “school farm” of their own is a gift for their growing hands and hearts to take hold. As it should be.