Growing beyond our garden

22 Mar

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.

Amanda Watson and Lauren Vejvoda leading a session at the national Montessori conference


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:

Chatting with Lower El about what happens during composting, at a microscopic level.

Doing some Q&A with the students

Will Allen with teens from SEEDS

Flaking Mr. Allen: GW Principal Patti Crum, and DPS school board members Heidi Carter and Minnie Forte-Brown

Garden tour!

4 Responses to “Growing beyond our garden”

  1. utility cart March 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    this is actually a great idea to help children appreciate other things aside from the growing technology we have.

  2. Gardening Birmingham April 4, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I have always believed that kids learn and benefit a great deal from gardening. Mr Allen seems like a great guy.

  3. Community Supported Agriculture April 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Its great to see schools getting involved in teaching our children (future leaders) how important it is to work as a community to help eachother grow.

  4. bobby May 7, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    This one is my childhood flower. I love Hibiscus Red. Great camera work Sal. All the other flower shots are beautiful as well

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