"Teachers just don't have the time," [Mary Michaud, a parent who started the garden at Madison's Van Hise Elementary.] "And many don't have the training or the instructional support to do it."Suddenly, they want you to be a farm worker!
As a result, many school gardens primarily are run by parent volunteers, who can be in short supply in schools with high poverty rates where parents don't usually have time for gardening.Poverty? Do middle-class parents have more time?
But Max Lubarsky, who has worked as an Americorp volunteer at Glendale and this fall will be an educational assistant, and Joe Muellenberg, youth nutrition educator with UW-Extension, have in the last two years revived the school garden. They hope it will attract more parent and teacher interest.So... there's no teaching. Just farm work for the kids. But it's okay to compel this for them because... why? Because you think they're fat? But your garden is premised on pizza!
The two moved the garden from the back of the school where it often flooded to the front and built 11 raised beds, including three in the shape of pizza slices growing basil, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and cilantro.
Lubarsky said students participating in a Madison School & Community Recreation program do most of the work at the garden now, but incorporating it into curriculum is "definitely a goal for the future."
Teachers don't need to go out and dig in the garden; they can simply hold math class among the tomatoes to get students thinking about the environment and being outside, he said.The old outdoor class. Does that ever work? I say teach in the classroom and then give the kids some time to go out and play, freely. Not work in the sun.
I'm not against gardens, by the way. I love gardens. And I think a school garden could be a great learning experience. I just have a problem with underdeveloped feel-good projects and compulsory menial work.