Back to Introduction and Lessons at a Glance
By studying this lesson, students will begin to understand the importance of geography, particularly Human-Environment Interaction: Places, Regions, and Culture (see frameworks connections below).
This lesson plan is about family farms and features Jewish farmers in Connecticut in the 20th century. The lesson plan highlights immigration, assimilation, and farmland preservation through the story of the Himmelstein Homestead Farm in Lebanon, Connecticut. The farm has been owned by the same family for more than 100 years.
Where I Live: Connecticut, Connecticut, chapter 1, Geography, pages 5 – 14. You may also like to have students read all or parts of https://whereilivect.org/lebanon/ and Lesson Plan 4 – Rural Town: Lebanon at https://whereilivect.org/learning-through-places-lesson-4-rural-town-lebanon/.
Family Farms, Jewish Farmers in the 20thcentury, and the Preservation of one Jewish Family Farm, the Himmelstein Homestead Farm
Adapted in part from “Hebrew Tillers of the Soil” by Mary M. Donohue, Connecticut Explored, 2006, and information from Frank Himmelstein, Himmelstein Homestead Farm, Lebanon, Connecticut.
Begin with an in-class discussion about immigration, assimilation, family farms, and the preservation of farmland in Connecticut.
Here are some questions to help guide the discussion.
Next, distribute to the students or have them click on the For Students Family Farms: Jewish Farmers in Connecticut materials (link to printer-friendly PDF provided). Have them look closely and answer the questions provided. Some prompts are provided below.
What do you see in the photograph?
What type of building is this?
What is it used for?
What types of things would you find inside this building?
Do you find this kind of building in the city or the country?
Have you ever been inside this type of building?
Have the students read the story about the Himmelstein Farm and choose an activity to explore family farms.
These sites have lots of information:
Silverman’s Farm, https://www.silvermansfarm.com/about-silvermans-farm/
Jones Family Farm, https://www.jonesfamilyfarms.com/farm/about-farm/history
Belltown Hills Orchards, http://www.belltownhillorchards.com/About
Fair Weather Acres, http://fairweatheracres.com/about-us/
Hindinger Farm, http://www.hindingersfarm.com/hindinger_farm_about_us.htm
Maple Lane Farms, http://maplelane.com/about/
Six Paca Farm, http://www.sixpaca.com
Learn more about a farming town at “Rural Town: Lebanon” Lesson Plan 4.
ECO. 3.1. Compare the benefits and costs of individual choices.
Human-Environment Interaction: Places, Regions, and Culture
GEO 3.4 Explain how culture influences the way people modify and adapt to their environments.
GEO 3.6 Describe how environmental and cultural characteristics influence population distribution in specific places or regions.
The Himmelstein Homestead Farm is listed on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places at
Connecticut Farmland Trust, farmland preservation
Working Lands Alliance, farmland preservation
Information about Barns
Historic Barns of Connecticut, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation
Barns and Barn Design in Connecticut
Connecticut’s Jewish Farmers
The Baron Hirsch Jewish Farmers Community
New England Historical Society
American Jewish Historical Society
Donohue, Mary M., Briann Greenfield, and Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford. A Life of the Land: Connecticut’s Jewish Farmers. West Hartford, CT: Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, 2010.
“Hebrew Tillers of the Soil”
“The Connecticut Catskills”
“Late Nineteenth Century Immigration in Connecticut”
“Early 20thCentury Immigration in Connecticut”
“L.B. Hass Company and the History of Tobacco in Connecticut (Jewish farmers)”
Connecticut Agriculture (general overview)