How many of you have ever been to or seen a farmers market?

 

They are springing up everywhere and with good reason.  Farmers markets support local agriculture which drives those hard earned dollars directly back into your individual communities, as well as providing food and other items that you can put a face to.  I like that knowledge that the person I see every week at the market has either grown the food I’m buying or was involved in the process somewhere along the line.  It encourages a personal connection that is so often lacking from much of what we do today.

 

Buying Local

In this post, I’d like to share with you a way to think about arts integration for your classrooms and schools.   Think of it as a type of Buy Local Farmers Market.  By teaming up with local artisans, local businesses and community members along with your teachers, you’re creating a byproduct that has all of that personal connection.  And when you add personal connections to art and other content areas, the richness of the learning is exponential.  Much research has been done that states that personal experiences create meaning and therefore learning potential.  By bringing all of these local people along for an arts integration lesson, unit or year long plan, you’re creating that meaning for not only the students, but also the partnerships themselves.

 

A great place to check this out is located at the Buy Local/Build a Future website.  This is a project up in Upstate New York that shows the benefits and the incentives for creating a “buy local” arts integration program.  This fascinates me! I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before!  My mother has worked on Buy Local farmers market initiatives for the state of Maryland and beyond for years now, and yet it just hit me today how this can apply to the classroom.

 

Have any of you had experiences with these types of programs?  If so, what benefits did you see?  Any negatives?  I’d love to find out more!