Welcome! This blog follows the building, cultivating, and harvesting of the Lakewood Elementary schoolyard garden in St. Petersburg, Florida. Since January 2009, the Edible Peace Patch Project has been developing innovative community-oriented food system and nutrition educational programs in south St. Petersburg, Florida. Lakewood Elementary is the 1st school to participate in our Garden Education Program!
This morning at the garden was a little chilly until the sun came out and then it started to warm up. Before the children came out at 9:30, Emma, Elena, Julia, and I took the time to do some maintenance of the garden. We decided to do some of the daily weeding, and also Emma got the hose out to water all of the beds.
Every week I come back to the garden it amazes me how fast all of the plants are growing. There is definitely some magic in this garden. Every early morning that I have to pull myself out of bed, once I get to the garden I immediately forget about being tired and there is a sense of peace and happiness that I get from being there. Especially when the kids come out, it makes me so happy to see their faces and how much they want to learn and how much they grow from week to week.
Once it was around 9:30 we started to get the materials together for the class. We put out the chalkboard with the recycling symbol as well as the 3 R's, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle written around the symbol. Julia had a good idea from the previous day of being at the garden; since the children are small and it is hard for them to reach up to the bench at the garden, she said it would be easier to put the recyclables on the ground and we could teach them to pick up trash and recycle it. It was a bit hectic with our group because they were very excited this morning, but once we got their attention we taught them the 3R's as well as asking them if they recycled at home and what things they thought could be recycled. It was so good to hear that a lot of the children knew about recycling and they all said they were going to tell their parents about recycling when they got home.
One of the boys in our group amazes me every week he comes to the garden because he has made such a change from the first week; he was so quiet and not really happy about being in the garden, but today he had all the answers and wanted to do everything! He even knew that if we didn't recycle things that animals such as seagulls would eat them and get sick. It made me so happy to see such a dramatic change from week to week. If the garden had something to do with that, it surely is a magical place!
It often happens to children - and sometimes to gardeners - that they are
given gifts of value of which they do not perceive until much later.
- Wayne Winterrowd