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A Harvest experience

To create an awareness of the work needed to gather in the harvest.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Key Stage 1

Aims

To create an awareness of the work needed to gather in the harvest.

Preparation and materials

  • None required though the story could be incorporated into a harvest festival service where the fruit and vegetables could be displayed.

Assembly

  1. This is a story about two children who lived in a city and who had never been out into the country, let alone on a farm. It had never occurred to them how fruit and vegetables arrived at the supermarket.

  2. Ali and Selina had entered and won a writing competition at their school. They were asked to say why they would like to spend a few days on a farm. Farmer Jones and his wife had offered to let the two winning children spend a few days with them to see how a farm works. Ali and Selina’s parents agreed that they could go and they were so excited when the farmer collected them a few days later.

    When they arrived Mrs Jones showed them to their room, then gave them homemade lemonade and biscuits. Soon after, Farmer Jones arrived with his tractor and trailer and offered to show the children around the farm. Ali and Selina children climbed aboard. They were surprised how big the cows seemed and how smelly the pigs were, and they thought that the sheep were like big woolly dogs!

    ‘Let’s show you what a farmer’s life is like,’ said Farmer Jones. They passed a huge barn full of hay. Farmer Jones told them it was to feed the animals throughout the winter. In the fields there was evidence that the golden wheat had already been cut. Farmer Jones explained that it had been taken to the flourmill to be ground into flour, which would be made into bread.  The straw still lying around would be gathered and stored for winter bedding for the animals. Everyone seemed busy working and gathering in the crops that had been growing all summer.

    Farmer Jones asked the children if they would like to help – naturally they were eager to do so. They went from place to place. First of all, they enjoyed filling their baskets with ripe apples; next they picked some pears. The fruits were easy to find, as the trees were heavy with them. After a delicious picnic lunch provided by Mrs Jones, they had fun pulling up the carrots and beet, and stripping the bean-pods from the yellowing plants. Best of all they liked picking sweetcorn, which made a loud snapping noise as they broke from their stems and a thud as they went into the baskets. After a while it seemed there was no end to the things that had to be picked. As the day went on, the sun grew hotter and hotter. Selina’s arms began to ache and Ali’s back began to hurt from carrying the full baskets of fruit and vegetables.

    ‘I didn’t realize it was such hard work picking and gathering in the harvest,’ said Ali. ‘I think they grow too much,’ said Selina.

    Farmer Jones could tell they were getting tired. ‘Time for tea,’ he said. As they entered the farmhouse, the children could see the table set out and laden with roast chicken and steaming dishes of freshly cooked vegetables like the ones they had picked. They had never tasted anything so delicious. After the main course they were treated to homemade apple crumble and fresh cream. It was all accompanied by glasses of cool milk. Everything had come from the farm. The children had not realized how much effort was needed to gather in the harvest. They went to bed that night feeling very tired, but pleased that they had helped.

    The next day they worked even harder, knowing how important it was to gather in the harvest. They watched as big lorries arrived to collect the fruit and vegetables. Some would be sent to their local supermarket and could well end up on their own tables at mealtimes. When it was time for them to leave, Farmer and Mrs Jones gave them each a basket full of fruit and vegetables to remind them of the busy time they had spent on the farm. It had been a wonderful time and they had both learned so much.

Time for reflection

Before the fruit and vegetable get into the supermarket, let us remember that many people have worked hard to get it there.

Let us say thank you to all the people involved and especially to God for his promise that each year the harvest will provide us with food.

Song/music

‘Lord of the harvest’ (Come and Praise, 133)

Publication date: October 2010   (Vol.12 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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