Bob Ewing –Every school needs a garden. Many of the subjects on the curriculum can be taught in a garden whether that garden is indoors or out. We posses the technology to create indoor teaching gardens at a reasonable price. The garden, to be an effective learning tool, does not have to be large; it just needs to be accessible.
Community centres, government buildings, churches, and recreation centres are also good garden sites. In addition to the potential learning the garden will provide fresh food for local food programs, for example.
Across North America, many schools have incorporated gardens and many cities have community garden programs. Now it is the time to expand these programs towards creating community food security and environmental stewardship.
What can gardening teach us; perhaps, the most important lesson we learn when we garden is patience. Plants do grow instantly, even radishes, which are fairly quick growing and an ideal plant for a child’s garden take some time; most varieties of radish mature in 28 days, fairly quick as vegetable grow.
Responsibility is another lesson the garden offers. Gardens demand care and attention, if this is not provided the plants will suffer and eventually die,
Both biology and botany lessons can be provided as the gardeners plant the seed, nurture it watch it grow, and harvest flowers, food and seed. The cycle of life is taking place right in front of us as we garden.
If we want we can learn some Latin as the plants’ official names are all in Latin. This can be useful when you want to be sure that you are getting the correct plant, using the Latin name will make this easier.
We can learn math and the value of measuring as we determine how many plants will fit in a row that is six feet long and each seed is plated six inches apart.
History is another lesson that we can experience in our gardens; roses for example have been around for many, many years and the story of how they traveled from China, for example, to North America can be a valuable history lesson.
We can learn how to grow, some or all of our own food and develop our ability to take care of ourselves and our families. This helps us move towards self-reliance and independence.
We begin to understand the complexity of the ecosystem that we inhabit as our understanding of how we are not alone when we garden but that we have many helpers working with us each minute, birds, bees, butterflies and millions of many very tiny beings who make our soil fertile and help the plants thrive.
Gardening enables us to put life into perspective as we begin to realize that we play a vital role in keeping our home, the Earth, vibrant through our gardens. We bring nature and civilization together and create a place where cooperation makes all beings prosper.
We can broaden and deepen our educational experience by setting up gardens at our schools, our vacant lots and our own homes. It is time to get back to the garden.