That’s me pushing the wheelbarrow
We’ve been busy lately, leaving me too busy to do much blogging! The school’s garden is up and running. This Thursday we had our first “Weed and Feed” event, which is simply a dinner picnic/gardening session. Some wonderful parents, teachers and their children helped to fill our 16 raised beds (3’x8′, made of untreated 2x8s) with the school’s sheep poop and bedding, and then beautiful topsoil. We avoided the raindrops! And the snow!
Our school has always had a garden, but some years it has been tended more lovingly than others. A few years back I’d joined up with some other parents to rid the school of prepackaged foods, especially in the school’s daily snack, by starting a Slow Snack group based roughly upon the principles of Slow Foods. This group has become something of a Trojan horse: by committing the school to slow down and source healthful, organic and mostly local edibles, our food-is-important agenda has taken root. It has meant quite a bit of work on the parts of some parents and teachers, but it has been very popular with the children. Food IS important.
Wheelbarrows do hold more than just topsoil
We decided to further close the loop and utilize the gardens as a tool for both learning AND easy food. My model for this was simple. Each semester, the whole school studies one continent: this means 3 year olds and 13 year olds are studying the geography, history, peoples and food heritage of a particular corner of the globe. The garden, I decided, shall study that continent too and will wrap up each semester with a big harvest festival. This spring’s area of study is Asia. Asia! HUGE! Fun! We’ll be growing everything from mibuna to bok choy to daikon to chrysanthemum greens: quick, easy greenery for a nice spring harvest.
Egyptian Walking onions
The summer gardens will supply the school snack’s Salsa and Pizza obsession (two big hits as ever with children) and we’ll be growing and freezing the bases for both so we simply thaw it and add more canned tomatoes as required to feed 150 children. The fall gardens will be planted both in the spring and summer: this Fall’s area of study is Europe (thankfully) so things like celeriac, leeks, cauliflower and long-season winter squashes will soon find their place in the beds.
Frankly, it feels really great to be putting my knowledge to use.