Last month, the Montessori school children emerged from their classroom into the crisp spring air around their garden beds. Not much had been happening in the beds since the fall. Farmer Jon had the children clear out all the old plant material and weeds and put it into the compost pile.
In their efforts to clear the garden beds, they discovered a forgotten carrot, left behind when its friends were all harvested months ago. It chugged through the winter until the children pulled it out. They were momentarily interested, but soon shifted their attention to an earthworm that had been discovered. Daniella did not want to touch the slimy creature until she saw all the other children taking turns holding it. Then she gladly took her turn with delight. Adults usually hate bugs and have learned to appreciate vegetables…. with this crowd the bugs seem to always win the popularity contest.
Farmer Jon showed the group what they were going to plant that day. They looked intently at the little green spheres he held up to them and one or two of them said “peas!” which cued the rest of them (who had not a clue what they were) to also say “peas!”. Their teachers had been soaking the seeds overnight so they were ready to plant. Each child planted two pea seeds down the length of the chicken wire trellis. After we were finished Vivia spoke up: “we need to water them now, right?” With the task at hand completed, the children lined up and headed out to the park with their teachers.
About the Grantee
The Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) manages three gardens in Camden. CFET has an innovative youth program that uses urban agriculture to develop young people’s skills and teaches healthy eating. We host service learning retreats focused on the environment and food justice.
Cohort: South 2