Teaching Urban Agriculture
The Waldorf School of Garden City's fruit and vegetable garden employs all the latest techniques of sustainable farming and biodynamic agriculture. Seeds are culled from last year's crop and planted to catalyze healthy growth and development before transplantation. Soil is prepped from composted kitchen scraps, as well as paper and cardboard from daily life, sawdust from the woodworking curriculum, and fallen leaves from the campus trees.
Our interdisciplinary approach to Horticulture weaves together many aspects of our campus life and curriculum, and encourages students to appreciate the interconnectedness of all aspects of nature. They observe this correlation firsthand as they cultivate the school garden using materials they find in their everyday classroom lives, and in return, the garden provides educational tools such as samples for botany classes and plants that can be made into natural dyes for fiber arts projects.
The profound relationship that develops as our children grow, care for, and harvest their plants, completes the full cycle as these students nourish themselves with the food they have grown. Some gardening sessions conclude with classes cleaning, preparing, and chopping fruits and vegetables to make meals of salads, cole slaws, and pastas using a portable stove right in the garden. Additionally, the daily salad bar at the Waldorf School of Garden City's cafeteria is often furnished with the produce grown in the garden.
Middle school students personally deliver surpluses to a local food bank. These experiences expand their view to the macrocosm, as they begin appreciate the power of sustainable agriculture in alleviating world hunger and poverty.