As snow and sun taunt us with their cunning arrivals and quick fadings, we harbor hope for the new growing season. We honor the newfound light. We can smell the snowmelt’s sonnet to the soil, reinvigorating life deep within as we cast our wishes for a vibrant and bountiful season. There is a renewed energy and a busyness in spring that invigorates our work and the land itself. The children have been engaged with garden preparations and practical tasks in all manners of spring weather; building the garden infrastructure with wood, stone, brick and fiber, moving and amending soil, spreading mulch, learning about seed propagation and plant care, painting our signage , and continuing the animal care taking and chores. Children celebrated the spring equinox by noticing the arrival of robins, trees budding out, the bulbs we planted in autumn peeking through, and the longer hours of light. We also harvested our first crop of lettuce from the dome, that the fourth graders had planted before winter break. Third graders took it around the school, so everyone got a taste. It is this community spirit of sharing in the harvest that allows us all to reap what we have sown together, practically, as well as metaphorically.
First graders explored the use of plants for color and made shibori stick dyed flags for their playground using natural plant dyes and continue to focus on tool safety and garden etiquette. Second graders have centered on the “winter” life of the soil and process of decomposition through story and work, as well as planting many seeds. Third graders have been taking care of all the newly planted seedlings, as well as working together to finish filling beds and mulching the garden, with an emphasis on proper soil building techniques. They also made, labeled and filled, all the seed packets for our fundraiser 3 sisters “thank you”, with the help of 6th grade. Fourth graders learned about the sun’s position, using the maypole as a guide, noticing the position as it changes throughout different times and the affect it has on growing crops. Fifth graders built the west bed inside the dome and planted a fig tree in the middle bed inside. Sixth graders explored seed dispersal mechanisms by designing their own “seeds” from a variety of recyclables, as well as learning about vegetable families. Seventh graders are finishing their sensory garden areas, deciding on which plants to incorporate, and building structures for those areas, as well as creating a giant loom for our community. They also wrote
letters to local businesses asking for specific donations, many of which we have received and we are grateful for. Soon, you will see many garden signs in English and Spanish throughout the garden, as 7th graders integrate their Spanish and ag arts class over the next month.
All grades have been assisting with caring for our newly sprouted seedlings, our dome plantings, and the emerging bulbs and perennials outdoors as well as patiently awaiting the time to plant more, which is THIS WEEK. The garden has become a place where the concept of community is brought to life through the recognition of relationships that lie within it- where students are aware of each other’s efforts, can identify and problem solve when something needs attention, and share joy in a moment, whether with a worm, bunny, chicken, seed, plant, or pile of soil. Student’s celebrate each other’s successes and together we are mindful of our challenges as such remembering proper tool care, respecting our peers and teachers, and following through with our best effort. Agricultural Arts is unique in that there is time for sharing and getting to know one another on a deeper level as we work. There are many moments of storytelling, discovery and awe happening during our time together. Thank you for sharing your children with us. We are blossoming!
xo, The Farm to Fork Team
Here is a glimpse of our early spring semester: