I’ve had a few heartwarming moments in or related to the school gardens in the past few weeks that I want to share. It’s always so nice to see/hear when kids have learned something or taken something home from our garden lessons. When I’m in the thick of things and teaching a lesson, I don’t always get a chance to notice and absorb these moments, so it’s nice sometimes to be able to step back a bit or hear from parents or kids about how the garden has influenced them.
I was at Withrow earlier this week and harvesting some herbs with Kindergarten kids to make some kale and herb pesto. A grade 6 girl saw us with our harvest, and was excited that we were about to do some cooking. She told me: “Hey, I remember making kale chips with you when I was little. We still make them at home all the time!”
That same afternoon, on my way home, I ran into some kids and their mom. One of the boys had made kale pesto with me earlier that day and was excited to see me and tell mom about the pesto they’d made and eaten. Then the mom mentioned that one of her other sons had come home a couple of weeks ago, and was so excited about the salsa we’d made in class that he and his brother went and harvested all of the ripe tomatoes in their own garden and whipped up another batch of salsa! Yum!
Last Saturday, I was working at the farmers’ market, and came home with a mountain of beet greens. (We sold lots of beets, and some folks asked for the greens to be removed. I have a hard time seeing this delicious food go into the compost, so I inevitably come home with so many of the greens!) As I was walking through the park near my house, I saw a few kiddos that I know from the neighbourhood – one grade 1 student and her 3-year-old sister, as well as a former student who is probably in about grade 2 or 3 now. They came up to chat with me, and the 3-year-old asked if I’d just been to the grocery store. I explained that I had been at the market selling veggies with some farmers that I work for (the wonderful Wooler Dale Farm, in case you’re wondering!). This made total sense to the grade 1 kiddo, who explained to her little sister “She’s my garden teacher!” The eldest of the three girls asked in great awe “So do you get to bring home vegetables when you work at the market!?!” I had some of those beet greens sticking out of my bag, so I asked if they wanted to taste some. The eldest and youngest of the crew were super keen, and ran to their dads who were standing nearby, to show them what they were eating! (I know their dads from the neighbourhood and told them what I was feeding their kiddos – beet greens, of all things!) Well, the 3-year-old LOVED them and came back for 2nds and 3rds! 😀
A couple of weeks ago at Blake, we had a guest educator (from Green Thumbs Growing Kids) doing a lesson about seeds and biodiversity. It was really neat to get to step back a bit and hear what the kids already know about seeds. This is a grade 3 class and I’ve known all of these students since they were in Junior Kindergarten, so they’ve had their fair share of garden lessons over the years. One of the first activities they did during this lesson was that each student got a seed in their hand (there were 4 different types of seeds). They had to A) find the others in their class with the same seed and B) sit at the table that had a picture of the corresponding plant to their seed. The seeds/plants that the students got were lettuce, carrots, peas and squash. As they got their seeds, I heard one of the boys say right away, “Well it’s definitely not a carrot seed!” Sure enough, he was right – he had gotten lettuce seeds. But, you may think, lettuce and carrots are very different plants, of course the seeds would be different! But just think for a moment – can you picture what either of those two seeds look like? They’re definitely not seeds we see on a regular basis, like squash or pea seeds. I asked him how he knew. His answer: “Well, we’ve planted them in the garden, and also I remember seeing them growing in the garden.” Yes! They have learned something over the years! 🙂 For reference, here are pictures of carrot and lettuce seeds (lettuce seeds also come in darker colours):
Happy growing (and harvesting)!