On Saturday, October 27, a group of 54 people involved in the Jane Addams School for Democracy boarded a school bus for a trip together to a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm near Osceola, Wisconsin, called Philadelphia Farm. As a college student from Macalester College pointed out, there were people born in five different continents together on the trip, and the participants' ages ranged from 3 to late 70s.
The trip was a way for participants from all of the Jane Addams School learning circles to step away from their educational goals, projects, and dialogues and interact across circles in a more informal way. For many people, there was an excitement in leaving the city and being in the country. There was some work involved in terms of helping out at the farm, but there was also plenty of space for play.
During the day, we carved pumpkins and collected seeds for future years, went on a walk through a forest and a restored prairie to a natural spring, planted garlic for the next year, played some informal soccer, cleared weeds from a trellis, and enjoyed a meal together.
As the farm residents introduced themselves and gave instructions in English throughout the day, informal interpretation spontaneously occurred in three other languages in order to keep everyone on the same page. In addition, young people, young adults, and elders played and worked together. At the end of the day, several people remarked that this type of play is really necessary for a group of diverse people to really get to know each other and do democratic work together. In many ways, it felt like a celebration. For the Jane Addams School, it was a way of interacting that is important to our overall work.