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Friday, May 14, 2010

Harvest Festival

Tonight was the 2nd "Annual Garden Harvest and Science Celebration". About 150 people came out, including Lakewood students, their families, and other community members. It was a really incredible event. The evening's activities began with a walk through the garden, followed by a vine planting ceremony at the entrance of the garden. Professor Curtis planted a Coral Honeysuckle vine and stated how the vine serves as a metaphor for the Lakewood students; as they work to help the garden grow and mature, the garden also works in the students to help them grow and mature. The events then moved into the cafeteria where the Eckerd students served the dishes they had prepared to the community members. As we ate we watched the documentary produced last year by Kelly Schiller, and then heard some remarks from Principal Cynthia Kidd, Lakewood science coordinator Peggy McCabe, and Professor Curtis. The events of the evening concluded with a raffle of various potted plants from the garden such as tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and marigolds.
I began participating in this project in January of 2009, when it was still mostly just an idea in Professor Curtis' mind. A dozen or so of my classmates at Eckerd began volunteering with the project, not really sure what would come of it. Now, almost a year and a half later I find myself involved in a successful, revolutionary project that I know will only continue to grow and solidify. I feel very fortunate that I've had the opportunity to not only participate in this project, but to watch it grow from idea to success.
We are in the middle of a food revolution in America, and I think that it is projects like this that are going to produce substantial and effective change in the future. More and more people are becoming aware and concerned with where their food comes from and the garden project at Lakewood addresses that issue while putting it in a learning environment for elementary school students, college students, and the surrounding community. This is a mutual learning experience, my classmates and I have learned so much from teaching these Lakewood students that can't be learned in a classroom.
Although I'm sad to have to say goodbye to this project I feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of it and the events tonight at the Harvest Festival reiterated to me how important of a project this is.

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