- Outside the Classroom
- Wabash Farmette
By Matan Halzel, Communications Coordinator
2020 has been a year filled with caution, uncertainty, anxiousness, and even fear. However, one part of the Denver Jewish Day School campus remained active and thrived after the campus was closed in mid-March - the Farmette. One could find Farm Manager and Denver JDS Teacher, Pallas Quist tending to the Farmette all spring and summer long. As summer began, Denver JDS approved having volunteers come to campus help out at the Farmette, ranging from Denver JDS families and teachers to community members. Ms. Pallas knew how much work needed to be done to tend to the Farmette. What she didn't know was how meaningful the work and interactions that would take place all summer long were going to be.
"What took place on the Farmette this summer is what makes all my work here worthwhile," said Ms. Pallas. "To see the Farmette bring so many families together and all of the smiles it put on children's faces, it truly warmed my heart."
Pallas could not have recaptured this summer's events on the Farmette any better. In a time filled with such uncertainty, The Farmette at Denver JDS has served as a place of safety, joy, and togetherness for many people in the Denver JDS community. Volunteers put in a whopping 363.5 hours at the Farmette from March-August!
“Every week it seemed that more and more families would come out of the woodwork and asking if they could volunteer,” said Ms. Pallas. “To be able to witness new friendships being made, and watching old friends reunite for the first time in months has been truly special.”
In addition to serving as the perfect community get-together spot at Denver JDS this summer, the Farmette also served as a second home to 10 campers for one week of Farm Camp during the summer. One camper was nearly in tears (happy tears!) on the ride home from the last day of camp. "I want to go back to the Farmette next week," the camper told his mom. "I wish this camp lasted for the rest of my life."
“For a lengthy period of time during this pandemic, the Farmette was the only place open on our campus for our parents and students to visit," said Head of School/CEO Avi Halzel. “It brought me joy to see the Farmette reconnect so many of our families during such a challenging time," added Avi.
Denver JDS put all of the necessary precautions and rules in place at the Farmette so that families and volunteers could show up worry-free. Masks were worn and social distancing guidelines were observed, and the positive results have carried over into the start of the 20-21in-person school year at Denver JDS.
One other perk that many families and volunteers have taken advantage of is all of the farm-fresh fruits, veggies, and flower bouquets. You can order delicious farm-fresh food and flowers each week by clicking here, and you can pick up your orders on Fridays right next to the Farmette.
What was perhaps the most meaningful moment on the Farmette this summer occurred just before the school year began when a Denver JDS teacher ventured through the Farmette with his son.
"My son and I passed through the Farmette on the way back to the parking lot from the playground. As always, he was entranced by the chickens. But this time, as he walked through the garden plots, his face registered a kind of blissful expression that I'm not sure I've seen on him anywhere else. The whole scene was just so idyllic: the blur of hummingbirds visiting bright yellow sunflowers; the flash of bunnies scampering across the dirt mounds; the kaleidoscope of insects, birds, plants, mammals, wood, and tools. I wanted to thank you (Ms. Pallas) for all you do to make that moment and so many others like it possible. You've given my family and the school such an extraordinary gift in the Farmette. It's a treasure." - a Denver JDS Teacher.
It's moments like these - and moments that Ms. Pallas has witnessed all summer long - that make all the hard work put into maintaining the Farmette at Denver JDS worthwhile. The Farmette has given peace of mind to many families during 2020, and it will continue to do so.