How can you get your garden-planning process off the ground? How should teachers roll out lessons in the garden, or cooking classes in a school? Why is all this growing-your-own-food stuff so important, anyway?
Over the past month, our school took part in three big events that attempted to answer these questions. This year, especially, we’re reaching outside our school to share best practices with other schools and organizations.
1. Two of our teachers presented at the American Montessori Society’s annual conference in San Francisco. As honors go, this was a huge one — for our teachers, our school and our garden. Lauren Vejvoda (Lower El) and Amanda Watson (Primary) gave a stellar performance, according to eye witnesses. You can check out their slide deck here.
2. I presented a session, called “Growing School Gardens and Gardeners,” at the recent Dig In conference in Raleigh. The conference is organized by the fabulous Advocates for Health in Action. I met some eager and engaged teachers, volunteers and chefs who are trying to launch their own garden projects in this region of N.C. You can see my slide deck here.
3. Our school garden received a visit by Will Allen of Milwaukee’s Growing Power. You may have heard of him, if you’re involved in the food movement, because he’s a bit of a rock star. He sat down with a Lower El class for an in-depth conversation about composting. Then he did a presentation and Q&A with the entire school, facilitated by youth from SEEDS’ DIG program, about why and how urban agriculture can empower communities.
Mr. Allen was recovering from knee surgery, but even so, he took a stroll through the garden and talked urban agriculture with us. He was more than a little jealous that we already have snap peas growing this time of year. (Not so in still-cold Milwaukee.) Here’s what the day looked like: