It isn’t a big secret that the education of our children has greatly evolved over time; the
incorporation of computers and IPad’s as aids to learning, keeping up with the latest technology, teaching about new discoveries and cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, while never forgetting the importance of reading, writing, and arithmetic. It’s the basics which used to be part of curriculum’s – say, how to cultivate food and plants – that has gotten a bit lost in the shuffle….squeezed out in favor of preparing for standardized tests and other pressing matters. On this, the day that most of the North American school children return to school, let’s dedicate ourselves to teach kids to garden once again!
Family farms were yesterday’s classroom
Times were that family farms were the botanical classroom for most youngsters. Mom and dad would involve the kids in the full cycle of planting, watering, fertilizing, and harvesting vegetables of all sorts, whether for personal consumption or to sell at the market. This was first hand, hands-on kinds of lessons that were invaluable to teaching independent living and healthful eating.
As family farms became rarer, and school curriculum’s stuffed more and more subject matters into their school day, children have lost the critical knowledge of how to grow their own food. This is a trend that simply must change.
Can schools really fill the void?
While we can’t bring back the America of 50+ years ago, we can insure that kids learn to cultivate vegetables and fruits and thus learn how they can feed themselves. But here’s the rub… either our schools must find a way, or we (as parents and grandparents) must create our own backyard gardens and teach these critical skills to our posterity. And considering schools are so overburdened these days with standardized tests and limited funding – even playground time/Physical Education has been eliminated, for Pete’s sake – this seems like a far-fetched option.
Imagine generations to come who have no earthly (pun intended) idea about soil, seeds, fertilizers, irrigation, harvesting, etc. It’s a sad and scary thought that is already closer to reality than you may think.
Teach kids to garden: A call to mentor
Take charge today! Let’s teach kids to garden! Commit some of your backyard to a quality greenhouse and the year-round growing of healthy edibles. Then, generously share how it is done with a young person close to you. Not only will this be the most delightful hobby you’ve ever engaged in, you will be teaching invaluable skills to our next generation, not to mention the wonderful bonding experience that will ensue.
School is back in. It’s up to you or the already overburdened teachers. The future of backyard gardening is in our hands.