Here at Bili Kids we are very proud of our urban farming project – The Farm @ Bili Kids. The Farm @ Bili Kids is our very own produce and chicken farm. At Bili Kids we have a very large property with our own farming land. On one section of our land we run The Farm @ Bili Kids and we lease out a separate section of the land to one of our parents who is an urban farmer. That means we have our own experienced farmer on hand to help the kids grow their crops.
What in The Farm? The Farm @ Bili Kids is a fully enclosed farm for all of Bili Kid’s children to be involved with on a daily basis. It includes raised and earth level produce garden beds, free range chickens, an orchard, a native bee hive*, a worm farm and composting and also our lovely cuddly bunny. At Bili Kids our children and educators are very fortune to have such a large rural area to become fully immersed in all aspects of urban farming. We have a lovely shady tree in The Farm with preparation and seating areas for potting and gardening as well as for special lunches with the children in our beautiful setting.
Tonnes of things to learn about while getting our hands dirty and having fun: The children are involved in all aspects of The Farm. Many elements of gardening, sustainable living and farming is included in our weekly room programs for all children at Bili Kids. This includes: planting, maintaining and harvesting crops and seasonal aspects of produce; the lifecycle of chickens and rearing and caring for animals; environmental awareness through composting food scraps from centre lunches for nurturing the soil in the farm; managing worm farms and native bee hives and; the natural production of food through to enjoying the produce grown at morning and afternoon tea and with cooking experiences at Bili Kids. In addition to these learning experiences The Farm @ Bili Kids also provides children with wonderful learning opportunities for all aspects of development such as team work, fine and gross motor development, problem solving, literacy opportunities and a sense of belonging to name a few, all in our wonderful natural outdoor environment.
Urban Farming as well! In addition to The Farm @ Bili Kids we also have an operational urban farm in a section of our land. The urban farm section is run by Ryan Van Der Merwe, one of our fathers at Bili Kids. Ryan has a background as a farmer and his passion is urban farming and sustainable living. Ryan is growing and harvesting his own crops for sale at local farmers markets and via his website.
The crops the children grow replicate those Ryan is growing on the ‘big’ farm. Ryan assists Bili Kids with farming knowledge for running The Farm @ Bili Kids. The Farm @ Bili Kids grows a smaller section of crops at the same time as Ryan’s Urban Farm. Ryan runs a chemical free environment, so whilst the farm will not be a certified organic grower no chemicals or pesticides will be used. All weeding, growing, harvesting etc will be down to hard work alone!
Some things we grow : The crops grown in both sections of the The Farm are seasonal, fast growing crops with an emphasis on making the land as productive as possible. Crops include sweet potato, rainbow carrots, radishes, varieties of lettuce/leaves, spring onions, turnips and pumpkin. In the children’s section of The Farm we also have an orchard with citrus trees and an olive tree plus a section for garden herbs and our free range chickens will provide fresh eggs.
Lots of yummy freshly grown things to eat & cook with: We grow lots of produce for the kids to enjoy at morning and afternoon tea and during cooking experiences. Often there is extra produce for families to take home. Ryan our urban farmer also sells his produce which Bili Kids parents can purchase at special prices.
Come on in and get involved: If you have a green thumb or just like the idea of getting your hands dirty we love for parents and families to be a part of The Farm. Feel free at any time to have a chat to Jodie, our Director, about how you can be get involved and there are also organised gardening events during the year.
* More information on our friendly Native Bees : Native Bees do not sting and are therefore safe around children. Native Bees are extremely child friendly and are a wonderful way for children to be involved and learn about the honey making process. It is possible for the lid of the hive to be taken off and to see how the bees are making the honey within the hive without any protective wear required. They make considerably less honey than a ‘standard’ bee hive which is why they are not used in general honey making situations.