Savannah Valley District

4-H Homesteading Workshop Series

  Molly Jones, 4-H Dorchester County

Youth Homesteading

July 21, 2023-August 11, 2023, Molly Jones Dorchester 4-H Agent and Alyssa Jones Clarendon 4-H Agent hosted a 4-part Friday morning series for youth on homesteading practices. Each Friday introduced a new topic and theme in homesteading. Homesteading is a practice and lifestyle of self-sufficiency. Often living off the grid while growing on and nurturing the land in which the family lives. Homesteaders grow their own food and utilize renewable energy sources. This social phenomenon has caught traction in many areas of the country. Youth can greatly benefit from the skills learned and taught through homesteading practices.

15 youths from multiple Lowcountry Counties participated. The first workshop focused on what homesteading is and why the skills learned can be important for personal development. Youth were paired into groups to develop their own homestead names as a fun icebreaker. Each youth examined the information on seed packets to help them in planning their garden during the following square foot garden planning activity. Each participant started vegetable seeds of their choosing and a mini greenhouse with the knowledge gained from the seed packet examination. DYI composters were created, and the science of composting and its importance were discussed.

In the second workshop animals and agriculture were the topics covered. 4-H youth discussed the types of livestock and crops that can be grown in a farm/homestead environment and discussed the various commodities each contributed. They participated in a hands-on science experiment demonstrating the rumination process that occurs in ruminant animals and identified which types of livestock fall into this category. A candling demonstration was done to check the embryological development of the chicken eggs in the incubator. They finished out the day with a budgeting activity to educate them on the cost of maintaining farms, gardens, and livestock.

Mrs. Gayle Williford Food Safety & 4-H Agent Berkeley County, instructed participants on a water bath canning lesson that allowed participants to learn knife skills, safe food handling, food preparation, and food preservation. 25 pounds of tomatoes were donated by Pendarvis Farms’ Produce Stand in Dorchester County. Participants worked together in groups to prepare the tomatoes for salsa and canning preservation. She discussed the importance of food preservation when there is an abundance of a crop. The youth did fantastic!

The final workshop introduced 4-H’ers to candle-making and sewing skills including sewing on buttons and operation of a sewing machine. Mrs. Dawn Stuckey 4-H Agent Colleton & Hampton Counties led the group in multiple sewing activities. While one group was working on their sewing skills, the other group was in the kitchen creating candles from scratch. The room was filled with many different scents from the essential oils added to the candles. While all the learning was happening, chicks were hatching in the incubator and participants were able to observe a chick hatch right before their eyes!

Each participant took home various learning materials and souvenirs from their 4-H Homesteading experience. We look forward to hosting this series again in the future!

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