WIESBADEN, Germany -- First-graders from Hainerberg Elementary School visited Domäne Mechtildshausen, an organic farm adjacent to Clay Kaserne, May 3.
During a tour, the children visited the cows that provide the farm with milk and meat. The first-graders clustered in front of them to see them eat and drink. The cows are fed with hay and silage, a fermented feed, that smells sour, which made some of the kids wrinkle their noses.
Then, Horst Freund, chief of the department of fruits and vegetables at Domäne, showed them the rhubarb field and greenhouses. The children harvested some rhubarb to try the taste. The huge leaves of the rhubarb plant also inspired some of them to play around and use the leaves as head covers.
In the greenhouses, the kids saw cucumber and tomato plants. While the tomatoes were not ripe yet, the cucumbers could be eaten, and Freund even had to go back to offer a second round.
At the end of the visit, the first-graders visited the bakery. Baker Thomas Gartmann explained how they make their bread and surprised them with a chocolate fountain and fruit. Each child picked a piece of fruit, dipped it into the chocolate fountain and decorated it with sprinkles.
The visit ended with a picnic in the farmyard where the market hall, the butcher shop, the bakery and the dairy shop are located. The first-graders ate their sack lunches and tried a cup of fresh milk.
Since the Domäne and Clay Kaserne are neighbors, "I hope that we will generally have more contact in the future," said Ute Hallé, a member of the Domäne management team.
"It is nice to show the wonders of Earth to children, and to see how much fun they have," said Dr. Mirco Grimm, environmental engineer at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's Directorate of Public Works who co-organized the visit as part of the U.S. Army Earth Day activities.