Canning with Kids

On October 16th, the 6th and 7th grade classes from Leatherwood Elementary in Perry County, piloted a foodways day camp program. It had been our intention for some time to develop a youth activity highlighting food and agriculture. We structured this camp to give a broad overview of Hindman Settlement School, production agriculture, hands-on learning, and, of course, some traditional arts.

Students were divided into groups and did different activities. A portion of the group toured the campus to learn the history of the school and the importance of education. Corey Terry, our Farm Manager, explained hydroponic tomato production, high tunnels, and allowed the group the opportunity to harvest ripe tomatoes. Finally, the group ended with our Traditional Arts Director Sam Gleaves along with Randy Wilson learning to square dance and sing traditional folk tunes.

Another group headed to the kitchen to work with staff and volunteers to turn the fresh tomatoes grown on campus into delicious salsa in the Kentucky Colonels Community Cannery. Students washed, blanched, peeled, cored, and chopped the tomatoes before cooking them down into a zesty salsa. Once the salsa was perfected, students filled and canned jars using a boiling water bath. Each student left with a jar of salsa to share with their family.

After lunch, the groups alternated so everyone had an opportunity to join in on the fun! We look forward to offering this day camp model to meet the needs of today’s classroom and to offer an inexpensive field trip opportunity for local schools. For more information of the foodways program or to discuss day camp opportunities, email Jason Brashear at