Hands down, my favorite thing about my children’s school besides a quality learning environment is their organic horticulture class.
Not only do they learn about all aspects of organic gardening from prepping the soil to planting and composting, but they also help care for foraging goats and free ranging chickens.
The classes take turns collecting the eggs and the children even get to take them home to eat, which is no doubt quite the positive learning experience for any families that might regularly purchase conventional store eggs.
One week, my oldest child learned to fish with a net in the freshwater lake that borders the school campus. He was taught to cast the net properly as well as detangle the fish he managed to catch. He was so excited to tell me all about it in the car ride home that day and it was very cheering to hear his stories.
When it comes to planting, the children get to choose which seeds they wish to plant and care for. Two of my children brought home beautiful bunches of lettuce when Fall harvest time rolled around. We had fun determining which dishes would work best with the greens they proudly brought home.
To the right is the giant ginger plant grown and tended by my oldest. I can’t wait until he brings it home and we can make some amazing homemade ginger ale with the roots!
My question is, why can’t all schools have a program like this? It seems to me that teaching children to care for the land and learn how to produce their own food is as necessary and important a life skill as learning to read and write.
While I’m sure my kids do not fully appreciate what they are learning in organic horticulture right now, I also feel quite sure that in the future, the memories of what they have learned will serve them well be it in the form of an easily pulled together backyard garden or possessing the know how to raise a few chickens to supply the family with quality eggs.
It gives me great peace of mind knowing that my kids already know so much more than I did at their age about producing their own food.
With the quality of processed foods continuing to decline and becoming ever more dangerous with each passing year with the unrelenting proliferation of GM foods and chemical additives of all kinds in our food, these types of community based skills will become increasingly more important in coming decades for simple maintenance of personal health, something today’s generations seem to take for granted.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Books that may be of interest:
The Nature Principle, RIchard Louv (excellent writer — love this book!)
Your Brain on Nature
Last Child In The Woods, Richard Louv
There’s lots of research now showing that children and adults who spend time in nature and working with nature are healthier in all ways… physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Gardens are just one way.