A Visit In The Garden


Earlier this month a group of ten first graders were walking by our house and wanted to know about our herb garden and the tomato patch we planted at the abandoned lot next door. I said hello and encouraged each of them to grab a tomato.

Well, at about eleven o’clock this morning Tanina, a summer counselor in the midst of a career change came knocking on my door. “Can we bring 10 first graders here to see where food comes from?” Tanina was very persuasive as someone who controls first graders should be. She asked if 1:30 would be OK–I said sure not knowing exactly what to expect.

We have been talking about starting a teaching garden at a nearby Kipps school. Also I have been contacted about an orchard at Eastern High School… We have talked extensively about how, what, when and why we would want to do something like this… we know we want to. I actually plant gardens with families in Chevy Chase and Georgetown and would like to extend this practice to those who cannot afford it.

Tanina showed up at exactly 1:30 we began in the herb garden and explained how we cook with Herbs. They passed around lemon verbena, basil and smelled the thyme and rosemary… A “yuck” was screamed as someone bit into raw sage…

We then went to the back yard and talked about fig trees and making fig preserves in mid August when the figs become ripe. These kid’s eyes got big as saucers as Tanina led them a little, “Mr. John you mean you get on a ladder and pick all this fruit?” The children asked a million questions all at once–so exited. My garden, all of the sudden, seemed like the most magical place to ME!

I took them down to the burnt out garage where we have a vegetable garden. We picked tomatoes, Pulled carrots and plucked strawberries. I took everything we picked inside to wash and peel…

John at this point pulls out the warm farm composter and explains how we put our kitchen scraps in to feed the worms and the food that moves through the worms, creates soil and nourishment for the vegetables. The kids all hold out there hands, as they want to hold a worm…

I walk out with a tray of sliced fruit and vegetables, washed and sliced. The same food they have just picked now they are going to taste… Tanina explains, “This is just a taste not a snack-–save some for everybody…” “these carrots are so sweet” a child exclaims.

We walk to the front and Bob Wollam, my local flower farmer pulls up and his van is brimming with zinnias, rudbeckia, dahlia, hydrangea… he invited all the children in the van, “Oooo, it smells good in here” He cuts a path so the Children walk in the side door and out the back door… One of the Counselors says, “Mr. Bob you remember me?” It seems he used to have a community garden in Shaw where he would encourage the kids in the neighborhood to garden with him… Now he is passing out flowers to their children…

This was the perfect day for us, for none of this was planned and none of this was an accident, however the meshwork of necessity and aleatory leads us in our pleasure and our practice…

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This entry was published on July 23, 2009 at 3:57 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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