a The Learning Garden

Monday, August 24, 2015

Veggies in the Garden - Summer 2015 Update

This summer has created a wonderful harvest in the Learning Garden. The wheat in the Celtic Spiral is tall, and the sunflowers that were planted earlier in the season by students have fully bloomed, providing a bright welcome to the space.

We have many veggies growing in the garden including watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, corn, carrots, beets, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant, peppers and more! The herbs that were planted in previous years have been flourishing and this year we added a chocolate mint and lavender plant to the herb bed.

The snap peas have come and gone by this point, but the zucchini and cucumber have provided ongoing veggies to harvest. So far they have been eaten by the friendly deer that likes to frequent the garden and sample our vegetables, as well as some students, faculty and staff.

In the area between the Celtic Spiral and the pond, the area was covered in stone dust by Facilities Management in preparation for the Al King memorial lookout in the area. The clearing removed several lavender bushes and a saskatoon bush, but it also removed a lot of invasive plants that were taking over the area. 

The pumpkin and spaghetti squash plants have expanded out of the garden beds and spilled over on the the pathway.

The potato plants (purple, red, and gold) are all flourishing and we can begin to harvest them soon!

The moroccan spearmint has started flowering and is attracting a lot of bees, as are the purple coneflowers that were part of the herb bed.

The first round of carrots, beets, and parsnips are nice and big, and the second round are still little sproutlings trying to get established.

The zucchini, cantaloupe, and pumpkin are all in flower, which has been a lovely addition to the garden foliage.

The corn is growing, but the deer has been nibbling on the ends of the corn cobs so hopefully that means the corn is tasty!

That's all for now!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Welcome . . .

. . .Sarah Bird! 

Sarah is a UBC Biology graduate student, who will be working as an academic research assistant at the Learning Garden while I am away on study leave this year. This year, look for more organic vegetables and soulful involvement from environmentally-friendly, socially-conscientious students!

You are most welcome to the Learning Garden, Sarah!

Also with much gratitude to the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for their ongoing support of our little garden over the years. Thank you. . .

FYI: Learning Garden foragers - please keep in mind that the produce is being cultivated for students in need, for local homeless shelters and for foodbanks.

As I travel this year and continue to work this year in support of eco-justice, nine years after the LG began, our work only becomes more relevant

Peace and good to all,

Monday, November 03, 2014

In Solidarity.

The English and Middle School Student Teachers Cohort at University of British Columbia Okanagan support the 43 missing student teachers in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. Today, we wrote a poem of support...on the boxes in the Learning Garden.

Mexican students in the rural education college disappeared on 26 September after being attacked by police in the city of Iguala, a city about 130km south-west of Mexico City. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, enraged by the attacks and the lack of information, have marched in protest across the country. Families of the missing students confronted Mexico's president. We are inspired by shows of support in Mexico and in other student communities, including: University of Texas, MIT, Harvard, and demonstrations in Buenos Aires,  London, Paris, and Vienna.

Today, our lesson exemplifies the need for literacy, critical literacy, media-literacy, and ecological literacy in education. We look at the need for North Americans to read the news with a critical eye. 

Today we follow on the words of others who have strived for democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech:

"We must teach others to read the word…and the world."
- Paulo Freire

"Day after day, children are denied the right to be children."  
- Eduardo Galeano 

"Teacher, purest creature
Green young man with face fixed
Whoever killed the present for you
Did they believe they were killing the future?"
- Nicolas Guillen, Conrado Benitez

"It is necessary to engage in a campaign of gentleness and knowledge. .  ."  José Julián Martí

The student teachers wrote a class poem: In Solidarity. Each student wrote one line of poetry. Then the poem was written on the garden boxes in the Learning Garden with natural, non-toxic, water-based paints. 

To the student teachers in Mexico we dedicate our poem, in support of Freedom and Free Voices for all.

In Solidarity.

Do not despair.

Hear the voices of those who have gone,
no matter the distance, 
together we are strong.

Radiant potential snuffed out.But in the darknessa light of light. . . 

We had hope. 

Burn on to ignite the fires of change!Exhume the dead for what has passed is not gone.

Stand up 
for what 
you believe in.

(We shared a hope that the next generation would be better).

On top of the load you carry. . .  
weighs such stress and duress 
we fail to fathom.

What can I say to those who have disappeared?  
You are remembered...

You are a symbol of peace, and strength. 

You inspire more than you realize.
Your voices live within us now.
Allow us to carry your voice.

Allow us to give it purpose.

This is a battle we must all continue to fight.
The best educators don't need a classroom in order to teach. 

You are the teachers you aimed to be.

You are us and we are you. 

You have done something I could not.
Now, what can I do for you?


Just as we finished writing the poem, it started to rain. 
Our water-colours ran back into the soil. 
Nature mirrors our tears for you today. 

After it rained, the Canadian winter wheat sprouted.

Until spring,