Early glimmers of reward for faith appear in garden

There are easier ways to put food on the table than growing your own fruits and vegetables, not to mention threshing your own grain to make your own bread. Shopping in a supermarket comes to mind. The hands-on learning opportunities, however, that come with doing and touching and tasting and experiencing in the garden seem well worth the effort to the folks behind the Vegetable Project.

Enough so that a few of the hardier souls were out on snowy days in early February putting seeds in the soil. It must have taken some faith to believe that that made any sense. But with a bit of protection provided by a homemade greenhouse of a sort over those seeds, specks of green, arugula (top) at our Myers Middle School garden and mustard (middle) at Albany High, offered in mid-March the first glimmers of reward for such faith.

Those specks of green, which hopefully will be a bit bigger in another week or two, are pretty exciting. Even better, however, is sharing that excitement and the pleasure of faith rewarded with kids who deserve a richer and more stimulating version of education than the one that takes place in passive classrooms. So we’ll keep at it for another year. We’ll continue tending our gardens and keeping hope up that circumstances will permit working with kids again soon.

We will continue to talk up outdoor instruction every chance we get. It was important before coronavirus became part of our shared vocabulary. It is more urgent now than ever. If things fall into place, we will offer Myers teachers a test drive of teaching in an outdoor classroom this spring. Please stay tuned. We believe that the outdoor classroom that we will develop at Myers will invigorate teaching and learning beyond what educators and students alike can imagine.

We will continue to state that outdoor instruction should be near the top of any list of measures meant to provide equity in our unequal world, that disadvantaged kids in city schools deserve the same rich educational amenities that expensive private schools tout in their marketing.

So we will also continue to invite teachers and principals and everyone else who cares about kids in our community to take a peak under our miniature greenhouses – we call them hoop houses – to get a glimpse of what is really possible with a bit of faith that caring for a few fruits and vegetables can open up great vistas of education possibilities.

We will continue to build friendships with our fellow school gardeners in Albany, because we can all accomplish more when we support one another.

And we will say again and again thanks to our great friends for cheering us along.

–Bill Stoneman

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