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 we asked what students remembered about the previous lesson. "Don't pick the veggies!" they cried out earnestly, nearly in unison and echoing each other. Good enough. We continued with this week's lesson about endemic plants as we meandered through the outskirts of the garden, home to many of the native plants (as described eloquently in Monday and Tuesdays blog posts). Today, before we could quite complete the lesson, most of the class had wandered off, distracted by the beauty of the sunflowers (we can't blame them, they were tiny last they had seen). Now, the stalks towered over them, flowers as big as their faces. Some sunflowers had beetles buried in them, as one student noted. Though a bit skiddish being anywhere near the bees, they appreciate them very much and understand the good that they do. From afar, some students call the bees their cousins, recounting tales of having worked with them, pollinating and protecting the queen (they're now retired). The bumble bee we saw today was deemed their grandmother. Some students traipsed through the garden, curious to find out the name of each plant (again), pushing aside leaves to find the ceramic signs or asking us. While one student munched down on raw dill with delight, another spat it out, still smiling. One student asked to wear my sunglasses. I gave them with the condition that she pass them on in a few moments and that she tell the person she gives them to to pass them on in a few moments, and so on. We were so proud to see how well they shared! After choosing out leaves from the native plants, the students made leaf rubbings with colored pencils and crayons. Because we were all so well behaved today, we got treated to cucumber slices! Some students diligently picked out the seeds (without being asked, mind you) one by one to lay out in the sun and save. We also took out the sidewalk chalk to draw garden related pictures (and names and hop-scotch).
We've recently learned that students respond beautifully to song, especially the "put it in the compost" riff.
Weave Peace and Plant Seeds,