Teach the Children

We live in an affluent community. Composting for many seems to be too time consuming, too not cool, too many other things to do like workout at the gym. I think we can skip the adult generations so let’s teach the children.

Recently I did a workshop with a k to 5 Green Team in our Town. The students were truly engaged. They filled two Earth Machine composters with leaves in twenty minutes. And they are smart. Those kids knew about carbon footprints, molecules and photosynthesis. Teachers at the Foster School seem to be doing a great with environmental education.

The time is now to carbon sink.

Follow on Facebook – A Sustainable Hingham & Sustainability Project – Honduras

Creative Pots

When we ordered supplies for our new greenhouse 13 years ago at Quincy High School, we ordered cases of plastic pots.  I didn’t know when there would be more money to restock.

Things have changed for me.  There are real issues regarding the whole contamination of the waste stream, real economic and environmental questions about recycling and a strong signal from nature with the pandemic.  This has allowed my thinking to continue to evolve.  Nature might be telling us something big.  In schools, when students are using the milk cartons as planters, it might just get them to think about the environmental issues.

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In the photo from left to right there are containers for yogurt, chocolate covered almonds, another smaller yogurt cup, a school sized milk carton, a 2 liter tonic bottle and a half gallon Almond Breeze container.  For the containers with lids, I poke or drill holes in the covers, cut off the bottoms and plant the seedling in the upside down planter.  This keeps the roots from being damaged when I remove the bottom cover and lift the container from the plant as it goes into the ground.   The Almond Breeze container gets cut in half.  Both ends are removed.  As the roots fill the space, planting is easy.  Just put the roots deep into the garden mix and lift up the planter.  If you leave the container as a collar it will protect from early season cutworms.  The roots will not be disturbed.  As a matter of fact that is true for all of the containers except for the small yogurt cups.

All of these containers can be reused.  The paper containers usually last for three cycles.  When children are involved, they may want to decorate the planter or practice spelling the names of the plants that are being grown in the container.

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At Hingham High School the Green Team was working on a reuse project before the pandemic. They wanted to build awareness at the school for the benefits of using reusable products.

Teach the children.  It appears that it may be too late for many adults.

Venezuela -Starvation

Why should you set an example?  The story in this link tells an interesting story.

http://thegrownetwork.com/long-take-grow-food/DormGarden2.jpg

That is why we are teaching the children in Honduras to grow organically.  I often tell people that trying to convince adults about scientific gardening is like talking to a brick wall.  We are all vulnerable based on drought, GMOs and conflict.  Where does you food really come from and how far does it need to travel in time?

What Is Wrong? – School Gardens

A farmer who has been involved school gardens in South America, Asia and the United States surprised me with an interesting observation:  School Gardens don’t work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My observation has been that the intentions are most always good but: here in the Northeast, if we follow the patterns of farmers and gardeners, the traditional vegetables are harvested in July and August.  The children are gone for vacation.  Who waters and weeds during the summer?

Growing cold weather plants can offer a harvest before kids check out for summer.  The germination process however needs to start on or before January 1st.  These plants can go into the ground as soon as the frost is gone.

Check out these cold weather plants that we are harvesting right now.  Please realize that teachers are overwhelmed and in January most are not thinking of a school garden with snow on the ground.

The Passing of Mel

Mel Bartholomew passed away in April.  He left an organic cult that should be as revered as much as a surgeon’s knife.  In my opinion, some people are finally catching on.  Check out the following article and do something.  https://www.organicauthority.com/square-foot-gardening-hands-on-tips-mel-bs-legacy

Just Grow It

One Square Foot at a Time has been designed to influence you, school children and the people of Honduras.  There are many worthy organizations that help people in developing countries to grow food that is more nutritious and provides greater quantities of vegetables and fruit.  Most of the organizations that I have heard of, try to use organic methods.  However there are many challenges in these countries and if the only solution to save a crop is pesticides, I too would use them.  It is a no brainer to use chemicals and pesticides when life depends on each harvest.

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What I have read concerning agricultural groups that go into developing countries is that they help farmers understand seed saving, using organic methods and conservation in order to increase yields.  All of that provides investments in the people and lends itself to good health.  My interest however is to teach the children.

The students served by Honduras Hope are eager and hard working.  They show their appreciation while working with us and I believe they are learning science and math as we work with them.  Some of these children have brought these techniques to their mountain villages and there is interest from those communities.  In January we will start a kitchen gardening program at our rather crude kitchen facility in the mountains where we provide nutritional and protein rich lunches for children from birth to six years old.

The Square Foot Gardening Program in Yoro is doing very well.  It is developing so well that I want to expand what we are doing.  I want to pay students a small stipend to teach young child and adults as well to use Square Foot Gardening techniques to grow things other than beans and corn.  I want to introduce kale, spinach and broccoli into their diets.  I want to provide nutritious smoothies to children that are malnourished.

In January I am bringing a gas generator to Honduras.  The people in both of the villages we serve have no electricity.  We have a community center in Plan Grande which is a wonderful facility.  With electricity from the generator we have planned movie nights.  Many students have never seen a movie and they don’t have televisions.  Students who want to attend Friday night movies can earn admission to the movie by bringing a five gallon bucket of compostable materials to the new composting bin at the primary school.  With the contribution to the composting idea they will earn a ticket to the Friday night movie.  It is proposed that young women from our Girl’s Empowerment Program will collect tickets.  Others can watch movies on Friday evenings by purchasing tickets.

Compost of course is the key to successful Square Foot Gardening.  There are plenty of green compostables and horse manure on the reservations. All of the kids use machetes.

This is the time of the year when everyone is asking you for money.  Worry not, I will find the money eventually.  However if you would like to become a part of an exciting venture, this might be something that you will want to become a part of.  Should you decide to contribute be sure to earmark your gift to Square Foot Gardening.

Send to:  Honduras Hope

P.O. Box 60

Franconia, N.H. 03580

School Equity

Good nutrition will provide the fuel necessary for academic achievement.  Students who grow things will at least try to eat them.

SchoolGardening

I wanted to provide wheatgrass juice to my high school athletes and was told not to because someone might be allergic to the juice.  So instead of the nutritious juice they were digesting grease from the french fries in the cafeteria.

Just visited a private school.  We were invited for lunch.  They served real food and it was delicious.  Students were eating the unprocessed food without objection.

If public schools are going to move in the direction of educational equity, they might want to start with the food they serve. Better yet, have the students grow the food on the school’s roof tops.  Now that is radical.

Read the following article and comment if you like on what you think.  http://www.upworthy.com/his-class-attendance-went-from-40-to-93-because-of-a-garden?c=tkp1

Tom Brady

Doing battle with large industries that are polluting children’s minds with advertisement about sugar drinks and packaged food is a challenge.  The holistic  approach to living is a struggle as the money guys; hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and food corporations pollute all of society.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady pauses for a moment while answering a reporter's question prior an NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The Patriots will travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady pauses for a moment while answering a reporter’s question prior an NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The Patriots will travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Read the Boston Magazine article http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2015/10/09/tom-brady-alex-guerrero-neurosafe/ about Tom Brady’s go to health guru.

The alternative approach to living healthy that Tom Brady uses is a far cry from traditional medicine.  And yet it seems to be working for him.  It has also  worked for his teammates.

Unfortunately, growing organically and making small amounts of healthy food for the consumer is expensive.  Fast food junk is just that and it is all that many families can afford.  In addition, Tom Brady spends his time right now preparing to win football games while marketing firms spend billions to win over children and the public.

Growing organic food is one way to deal with this issue but so many people need to work so hard just to make it that there isn’t enough time to do it all.  My money is on the Patriots and Tom Brady.  The NFL tried to take them down but when you are “right you are right”.  Unfortunately, Brady’s situation is not a short term solution but you can help.  Advocate for green living, holistic medicine and health insurance that pays for alternative choices.

Science and Health Education

Why does it take some educators so long when it is so obvious?  Read the article and see why and how this can be done.  http://childrengrowing.com/2015/05/11/share-if-you-think-every-school-should-have-a-year-round-gardening-program/

Application for many students leads them to conceptual learning.  First seeds must be planted in their minds.Garden OCT 2014 413

Magic

Shirley is entering the 9th grade.  She started a Square Foot Garden about two and a half weeks ago.  It is all in the soil.  Her appreciation for this stems from her school trip to Guatemala in the Spring.  The kale is ready to harvest.  Students understand best when they do it.

Shirley