By Roxanne Hanna, Youth Education Coordinator
After two months of solid programming with the youth interns, we now have two weeks left. We have gone deep with this program, incorporating not only principles of gardening, but also ecology, cooking, natural building, project design, and communication skills. We’ve hosted parent potlucks, distributed food from the farm for interns to take home, practiced yoga in the garden, identified (and ate!) wild edible plants, sold produce around the neighborhood via a bike trailer, cooled off with a sprinkler, harvested from plants we started from seed, practiced food preservation through drying and fermenting, installed no-till gardens, learned about bees and pollination, and preserving and defending water. It has been a very, very busy two months! At times hectic and tense, and at times joyful and fun. It has not been without challenges unique for each individual intern sprinkled in. Every child has come into the group bringing their own experience, personality, talents, and struggles, all of which have come together to form a dynamic space for learning that is specific to the needs of the kids.
I feel amazed and grateful for all we have experienced and accomplished together, and I think the lessons from this will continue to unfold for weeks, months, and years after the 2017 program is over. They have ownership of these skills now. And I hope that someday I will get the opportunity to see them in action in their own way, but even if it doesn’t make it back to me, I know that the 65 total hours we have spent together thus far have been well worth it every time I ride my bike to or from the farm and kids run along the sidewalk calling my name to stop and ask me questions or tell me about their day or tell me what is growing from the seeds we gave them. I also have learned so much from them and I know I will carry these lessons with me wherever I go in my path of teaching. That said, I am looking forward to coming to completion with this program, and shifting focus to serving more kids through field trips and scout days. Dirty hands heal the land!