Creating a Place to Connect — A School Garden

Creating a Place to Connect — A School Garden

  • posted on: February 28, 2017
  • posted by: 21 Acres
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When I was an undergraduate I read, The Pull of the Earth, an ethnography by Laurie Thorp. Through her research, Thorp determined growing food in a school garden was more than just gardening.  She observed the powerful interactions students and teachers had with the garden. Children craved to be close to the earth. They pulled and ate unwashed carrots, and berries right off the vine, falling in love at first taste. The teachers found a source of inspiration, a way to connect ideas and subjects using the garden to create exciting curriculum for each subject: math, science, history, writing, reading, and social studies and providing students with a deep, meaningful relationship to food and our planet. This book spoke to my soul. I read it at least four times and nearly every word is highlighted. It was the beginning of finding my passion for food and for life.

Thorp’s work inspires me to this day. At the end of 2016, I initiated contact with a local school to create a garden. I hope to inspire children to get out and engage with plants, soil, sun, and spirit. As part of the work I do at 21 Acres, I approached a nearby school, Woodin Elementary, and luckily, one teacher, Ms. Jackson, wanted to get her students outside in a garden! With this mutual aspiration, 21 Acres and her 3rd/4th graders are working to create a native plant edible garden. Recently, we had a great meet and greet and took soil samples. The students loved getting their hands dirty!

In the coming months, the students will collaborate on a landscape design and create native plant identification plaques or tags. I hope they will see the importance and value in taking ownership of a place.
 We will plant together and learn about the bounty native plants can provide, connecting food with our planet.

My intent is to write about each stage in the process and share our discoveries. More than anything, I look forward to the next time I meet these kiddos in the garden. Meghan Tenhoff

In good food,
Meghan Tenhoff