a The Learning Garden: Genesis

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Initially I wanted to do my nature diary as a blog on the one I created for my tech class, but Veronica's suggestion of putting one up on the photo blog appealed to me...so here I am. I guess I'm a couple of days behind but this is the busy season for me here on the farm and I work well into the night most times when I get home from school!
Living on a farm for my entire life, gardening has been a driving force in the makeup of my family. Growing up, my mom made a conscious decision that no pesticides or chemicals were going to go into my system. For the most part we raised or grew all our own food and very rarely did my mom make trips to the grocery store. It was a lot of work, but that is how she was raised, how my dad was raised and they were determined to make sure that's how I was raised as well.
My intial thoughts on the Learning Garden were, obviously, all positive. As a farmer and an educator, my dream is to be able to bring agriculture/gardening into the classroom....or more to the point to bring the classroom to agriculture/gardening. Until we worked on the Edible Schoolyard project in May, I never really thought that it was something that would be attainable in the traditional public school system. After doing some research on school gardens I began to feel the enthusiasm that comes with inspiration. When I found out that this class would revolve around the concept of a learning garden and that we would actually have the chance to design and work on one at UBC-O, I was thrilled, and my dream seemed a little closer than it did in May.
Admittedly, my vision of the garden site (before seeing it) was, perhaps, a little hopeful. I thought that maybe we'd get a spot with some grass and good soil and we'd breeze in and rototill and turn up some nice black loamy soil and we could focus on building the infrastructure. I won't say that I was disappointed by the site because I wasn't, and I'm not. It just wasn't what I was expecting. Upon further reflection, however, I think it's quite fitting because any site that one might get in a schoolyard would not be a plum spot, but rather one similar to what we have at UBC-O....that being a spot that no one else wants to use and is out of the way.
After a day out working on the site, I felt great about the location and the site itself. Though we haven't put forward any designs yet, i think we are allon the same page and I felt enthusiasm for the project from everyone. True to any gardening project, the hidden value is in the conversations that take place while we work and I think I learned more about the 3 people I have never met before in one afternoon than I would have in 3 weeks of in class time. For me, the time spent talking and exchanging ideas in that setting can't be equaled. I am looking forward, in earnest, to getting some of the scrap cleaned up and getting some shape to the learning garden. I am planning on spending the whole day on site tomorrow and getting some good things accomplished.


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