Camp Notes - First Week Reflections

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Camp Notes - First Week Reflections

ReflectionsThe first week of our Farms, Food and Photography camp has been jam-packed with, well, farms, food and photography. Keep reading for an overview of what we've done and some of the campers' thoughts and reflections on the week.



We got an overview of the camp, including a brief photography lesson from Ellie, before walking to the Eighth Stree Produce Project for a tour and to buy some veggies. We headed back to the kitchen to make vegan aioli using some of the herbs from the farm!


We traveled to Mapledale Farm in Berlin, NY. This dairy farm is in its seventh generation and produces some delicious cheese. Ellie taught us about the native Brazilian ginga and we took lots of photos of baby cows before sampling some cheese and chocolate milk. Back at The Arts Center we watched a short documentary on the Honest Weight Co-Op in Albany.


We made some delicious macaroni and cheese in the kitchen using cheese from Mapledale Farm and fresh veggies from Ellie's garden. The rest of the day was spent reviewing and critiquing photos taken so far. Ellie had a special gift for everyone - a jar of lentils and instructions on how to sprout them!


We hit the road again to go to the Denison Farm in Schaghticoke. This vegetable CSA distributes to over 500 families every week and takes a lot of work to make it all happen. Justine gave us a tour of her farm and Ellie mixed in photography lessons along the way. One of her challenges to the campers was to focus on capturing the people. Back at The Arts Center, campers watched Food, Inc., stopping at various points throughout the movie to talk about some of the difficult subject matter.


We spent the morning in the studio constructing a light box and photographing produce. At lunchtime we headed to the kitchen to make a delicious frittata using local ingredients we had gathered throughout the week and practice paying attention to light in our photography. After lunch we spent some time reflecting and talking about the week. What follows are a collection of notes from that discussion:

Savarie wrote a camp recipe. I won't explain, it's a "you had to be there" kind of thing.

Camp Recipe
7 oz. omg I'm sorry I kicked your tooth out
2 cups cute animals
57 tablespoons of Vanilla (the cow)
4 cubes of Colby cheese
1 pinch of wow it's still hot out
Josh was direct and to the point with his thoughts.
Savarie reported from her interview with him that "Josh thought farms were farmish and food, foodish. Also that food is edible."
Machai drew a picture of the Denison farm cat and greenhouses in his notebook.


When Jillian was interviewing him he explained that he had been to a dairy farm before but only gotten to see the milking. He liked this dairy farm visit because "It went in stages, we saw the feed for the cows, then the calves, then the milking and then ate the cheese. We saw the life cycle of a cow in a place."

Jillian and Vanilla the calf from Mapledale Farm had a special connection. 

"Vanilla was cute. She was perfect. She was so white with no spots. Mad Cow was mean."
She said that she liked Food, Inc. but that it was disturbing because the animals were born and then they just died without really having a life.
Angelina had a few distinct impressions from the Denison Farm visit.
- Using the washing machine to dry greens because the story of Justine going to the store and having to explain what she needed it for to the salesmen was funny and memorable.
- The seed vacuum machine because "I've never seen a seed vacuum and thought it was neat how it was so exact getting one seed in each hole with no mistakes."
Angelina and Renee interviewed each other and both agreed that the movie (Food, Inc.) was very factual but that it had been a little disturbing to watch animals die. They both love taking pictures of flowers up close and from the Denison farm they both liked the textures and greenhouses - especially the smaller tomato tunnels.
Renee was moved by a bridge across the small river on the Denison's farm.

She said hearing Justine talk about standing next to the bridge and watching the water rising so fast during the hurrican in fifteen minutes was really incredible and memorable. She is working on a poem about the bridge.
Angelina reported from her interview of Renee that she was particularly interested in the fact that tomatoes and basil grow well together, especially since they also taste go great together. We all agreed if only the hoop house could be made out of mozzarella we'd be all set.



Photos in this post by Holly Rippon-Butler. Check out our Facebook page for more photos from the camp! Be sure to join us for the opening reception of the kids' photos. You can read more about The Arts Center on their website.

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