- Posted July 18, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From garden to table
John Barry School Garden - Part 2
- stein0726, CNN iReport producer
While I was cutting the lettuce, a milky white substance was coming from the stems. One of the second grade students asked most seriously, "Is that where ranch dressing comes from?" I guess because it was lettuce and the connection to salad made him think it was dressing. I thought it was a pretty logical connection, even though I couldn't help laughing. But this is the kind of learning I'm talking about. We're going to find out what that milky white substance is.
I think one student is emerging as the "tomato expert". a ladybug landed on someone's arm. That was a really big deal!
While we are outside gardening there is a traditional summer school program going on. The students get breakfast in the morning and a snack before they go home, both of which include a pouch drink. We collect all of those pouches to recycle. So we have a group of students cleaning and packing them, too. We receive two cents for each pouch. We use the money to go on field trips. Last school year, the after school Garden Club went on four field trips to visit gardens and farms so students could see how farms who supply our food really operate. They went to a very old farm which actually is affiliated with 4-H. That farm had gardens and animals and the kids enjoyed a hayride. The view of fields, hills, orchards and mountains was breathtaking! Then they visited an urban garden at an intersection in a busy city neighborhood which was strikingly different from the farm in the country. There was a package store across the street, multi-family houses, empty lots and motor vehicles zipping by. But the greenhouses sheltered the most healthy looking, gorgeous plants imaginable! There were even lemon trees in there! Then we went to a farm where back in the day painters went to paint the landscape. Just a beautiful and peaceful place to exist! Included in this trip was an opportunity for students to paint like the artists did long ago. So they got a small kit of art supplies, found a spot and started drawing, just like that. That's where I got my newest idea, "Artists in the Garden" that is posted on Donors Choose.
I never imagined a school garden would bring this much pleasure. I get crazy with my ideas. I would really love to obtain a grant to get supplies to create a sort of "STEM Lab" in our school so we could study plants during the entire school year and science in general more thoroughly. Kids really need a lot of hands on learning. And especially with science and math, they need to see and explore options for answers to puzzling questions.