After a hot afternoon at the Edible Schoolyard, a few friends and I decided to go swimming. In the water, I told them about an experience I had at the garden earlier today.
“Who wants a spicy jewel?” I asked, knowing the response I would get.
“Me, me, me, me!” Came from a dozen different voices.
All of our kindergarten’s class took a moment to line up peacefully amongst all of their excitement.
“Can I taste the radish? Can I have the radish? I want the biggest piece!” Since the radishes arrived a few weeks ago, my classes have come to known them as spicy jewels.
I told my friends this and they could not believe that kindergartners and first graders were fighting over radishes.
Clearly, they could not believe they were proceeded to fight over kale, chard, dill, and parsley either.
Witnessing the kids enthusiasm and enjoyment was not only a personal pleasure, but an eye opening experience. In a country where childhood obesity has tripled in 30 years and fast food floods our diets, children from all different socio-economic levels are craving fresh vegetables that they grew themselves. This afternoon, one first grader put his raw chard in his pocket and told me he was saving it for his grammy. All of the kids show great interest in the garden, satisfaction in the growth of their vegetables, and delight to be outside.
Activity wise, 1pm to 3pm was very busy. We asked our classes to use their five senses to discuss various plants throughout the garden. Admiring vibrant squash blossoms, the kindergarten class could not believe the success of their squash and zucchini plants. While the first graders could not stop describing the smell of the potent tomato plant. With a few minutes left, we improvised and played a short, but exciting game of "flower, flower, bee," an Edible Schoolyard version of duck, duck, goose. Flower, flower, bee turned into chard, chard, kale, radish, radish, carrot, corn, corn, bean...ect...the list goes on. It was an all around eventful and reflective afternoon at Lakewood.