education

Aruba Green Education Symposium

I just returned from a week in Aruba, visiting with the elementary-aged students and talking organic gardening. What a great group of kids–smart, well-mannered and VERY engaged in the topic. And if that wasn’t enough to make it a GREAT trip, the scenery was fantastic! Considering that my gardening in Central Florida during the summer slows to a near standstill, my trip to Aruba was a wonderful way to continue my passion for gardening. I was invited to speak as part of the Green Education Symposium, an educational outreach from the National Library of Aruba.

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It was my first visit to the island and I was thoroughly impressed. From the gorgeous scenery to the warm and generous people, Aruba is an amazing mix of tropical breezes, turquoise waters and desert inlands.

Aruba mangroves

White sandy beaches were littered with cactus and Divi trees, mangrove lagoons were a sanctuary for birds and fish, and the colorful buildings of downtown Oranjestad offered an abundance of visual pleasure.

Aruba beach cactus

Scheduled to be the first Green Island–totally self-sustaining via renewable energy sources–Aruba is all about organic gardening and sustainable gardening practices (one of my favorite topics!). And where is the best place to begin such an aggressive overhaul for a community-at-large? The children, of course! Some of my favorite gardeners…

Aruba school visit 2

Teaching the youngest among us the value of sustainable living ensures a long and prosperous future for the people and the climate of Aruba. A worthy goal to be sure, one we can all learn from.

Healthy Gardening = Healthy Planet

Healthy Living = Healthy Humans

Win-win! And kids know that vegetables taste better if you grow them yourself. For more information on Aruba’s quest for green, visit their website: Aruba Environment.

Last Day of School

Today is our last day of school and while there’s not a frown in sight, they are sad to say goodbye to their garden.  And who wouldn’t be? Gardening is BIG fun–especially during school hours!

“You mean we get to go outside again?”

“Yes pumpkin, you do.”

Speaking of pumpkins, our summer “crop” of students will do the honors this year and plant our pumpkin patch. Waiting until August is simply too late. Too late if you want pumpkins to carve for Halloween, that is. Or how about a pumpkin stand? Our seed sale fundraiser last week was a rip-roaring success. We raised an amazing $285.00 for our garden!  Isn’t that awesome? Now each student will have a tool to work with in the garden (no more sharing between friends) and we’ll ALL have gloves that fit.  For bonus points, we’ll throw in some magnifying glasses to use for leaf study, bug discovery, infection inspection–it’ll be super!

But before we go, how about one last check on our tomatoes (we’ll pull these out over summer and replace them with peanuts). 

Our first batch of which have already begun to sprout.

 

All over the place!

 

Gorgeous.  Simply gorgeous.  Come fall, we may host another seed sale, or send some home to parents as thank yous!  My summer plan is to create a full-fledged garden curriculum for the students, one that will coincide with the botany and science lessons they’re learning in class. With a seamless approach to their education, hopefully the students will be the big winners.

So if you’d like to incorporate gardening into your child’s education, sign up for new blog post notifications and you won’t miss a minute of the fun.  All lessons will be free for he taking!

Talking “Crazy” Trends

When I saw the picture of this truck bed with a garden literally planted in its bed, I thought:  “Now that’s just plum crazy!”  Who the heck gardens out of a truck?

Who the heck eats their hedge?  Maybe I’m the crazy one.  Well, at least in suburbia I am.  But these two fellas, Nick & Justin, just may have found the magic to self-sustaining living—road trip style.  They call it Compass Greenand their mission is to “teach practical farming tools and raise awareness on sustainability through presentations, workshops, and greenhouse tours at schools, camps, organizations and communities with a curriculum focused on Bio-intensive methods of sustainable farming—producing the maximum yields with the minimum amount of resources.”

They hope to inspire people across the country to be creative and utilize any and all space they can to grow food.  So far, I think it’s working.  Take a look at these school kids from a charter school in Queens, NY.

Seems to me they’re a bit taken with the idea of garden greens in the bed of a truck.  As they should be.  I don’t care where you’re from, this is unique.  In a totally fun and very cool way.

Why, if I could, I’d put a garden in the back of a semi truck and travel around the country, too.  Just think of it!  I’d map out my course based on visiting cities and countryside at their seasonal best, like Vermont in October, Florida in December, the Deep South in the spring…  It would be glorious, free-spirit living at its best!  Why I’m getting tingles just thinking about it. 🙂

Until I saw this.  Seriously? Are you kidding me? Uh-uh, no way in heckamundo am I sleeping there.  Not for any length of time, I’m not.  Plan B!

But it is really great that these two fellas are doing so, isn’t it?  I mean I touch one school and one group of kids.  These guys touch hundreds!  Kudos.  Peace, brother.  More power to you.  And if it’s really a trend that’s catching like Ian Cheney seems to suggest…

 
Well then I’m all for it.  Video (and more like it!) created by Ian Cheney and his film series:  Truck Farm.