Saturday, June 2, 2012

Secrets of the Garden

Picture book
Each year as days grow longer and warmer, even if there's still
snow on the ground, I find myself daydreaming of the Orono Community
Garden. I yearn to prepare soil, plant seeds, tend growing veggies,
and harvest healthy food for our dear senior citizen friends. The
feel and smell of the earth, the cool relief of water on a sunny day,
the sight of growing plants, the sound of bees at work, the taste of
freshly picked spinach...all a delight for the senses and soul.
As the price of healthy food goes up and the ingredient lists of
many mass produced products in kitchens bear more resemblance to
science fair products gone horribly awry than something a sane person
would consume, a home garden or piece of a community one would be a
smart option for many families. Kids are more willing to eat well if
they participate in growing and preparing food. They can feel the
pride of contributing to the family economy. And what a way to get
you all away from electronic distractions and into the good fresh air
and sunshine for quality time!
Families with such a plan would do well to invest in Kathleen
Weidner Zoehfeld's Secrets of the Garden. Daughter Alice tells the
story of one year of her family growing veggies. All including Honey
the cat participate enthusiastically. Their story is interwoven with
that of the other residents of their summer home and their
interconnectedness in nature's food web. Talk about fascinating!
On a personal note, I have a larger family to sell this idea to, my
RSU 26 family. I have long been a believer in school gardens to
provide local food for cafeterias, not to mention kids in food
insecure families during the summer, make science more hands on,
create nutrition awareness, and provide another venue for community
involvement. Because of this I was invited to a neighboring
community's planting of a school apple orchard. Lucky for me they
were short a volunteer. I was able to work with 3rd, 4th, and 5th
grade students. They loved being out there, digging in the dirt,
carefully and respectfully handling earthworms. They related this
experience to classroom learning. They were proud of making a real
contribution to their community. It was amazing! I want nothing less
for RSU 26. I intend to bring the right people from the school and
community together to make sure that this happens. :-)
A great big shout out goes out to our RSU 26 principals, teachers and
staff, and students and the equally gifted and talented community
members who I know will help make this dream a reality.
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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