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Mini-marketers combine enterprise with learning and old-fashioned fun

 

Even the weather cooperated on May 29 by providing a sunny afternoon for second-graders at Ormondale School in Portola Valley as they held their school's third annual Farmers' Market.

Students of Kristin Wong, Debbie Grech, Adam Ahlbach and Kristin Bouman set up and staffed booths selling items they had designed and created.

During the three years of the market, the second-graders' creations have included birdhouses, paper, birdseed cookies, garden signs, planter figurines, ceramic pots, life-sized scarecrows, gargoyle drain spouts, pinwheels, paintings, greeting cards, mosaic tiles and stepping stones. Large projects have included painting a handmade garden bench and building lemonade stands from recycled pallet wood.

Funds raised though the project go to "The Butterfly Valley," Ormondale's school garden, as well as to nearby community gardens that need assistance.

Community involvement has included food trucks that share some of their sale proceeds, middle school musicians, and fresh produce donated by Farm Fresh to You and Shasta Produce, plus supplies and volunteers from Henry's Place, a local floral company.

The Farmers' Market, which won a J. Russell Kent award for innovation from the San Mateo County School Boards Association this year, is not just fun for the students. Teachers says they are incorporating a wide array of learning into the annual project, including math concepts ranging from shapes and fractions to counting change, measuring, and tallying surveys.

The children incorporate reading and writing into the Farmers' Market by marketing the event, and writing how-to books, thank-you notes and a gardening manual. They make budgets and purchases, research competitive pricing and learn life skills such as collaboration and time-management.

And, yes -- as could be seen at the market -- they do also have some fun.

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