Rather than teaching kids the difference between an acute and an obtuse angle, why not teach them a skill that they can use to enrich their own lives and better the world? By making gardening and other practical skills required of all students, we can begin to create a movement of self-sustainability and real organic food throughout the world.
While many kids who live in rural settings may already have access to gardens or easy access to various farming projects, most kids in suburban and urban settings may have never watched a seed grow before, or plucked a fresh vegetable right of the plant to take a bite. And they may never know the satisfaction of growing your own food.
Some may argue that in urban areas, there is simply no space for a large garden, and that’s where the discussion ends. But, a 4 foot by 4 foot plot of land, if done right, can easily supplement a family of four with fresh fruits and vegetables all summer long, with a few left over to share or store. Even if plots of land are not available, container gardening is alive and well which requires no actual land, just enough space for some containers.
If gardening classes were part of the mandatory curriculum of every student, they would be able to learn how to provide for their families now and in the future. One of the biggest problems today is with the food that people eat. Most people simply do not get enough fruits and vegetables which contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Another advantage of teaching kids to garden is that it gets them outside. Another huge contributor to the unhealthy lifestyle of most people today is that they spend way too much time in front of the computer or the television. When kids are excited about gardening and required to get out there and garden, they’ll get out of their seat and go be more active.
As more and more people begin to grow their own gardens, it will build community within a neighborhood. You can exchange ideas and plants and produce across the fences and come together with the community for large swap meets. If the Smith’s tomatoes just didn’t make it this year but their zucchini came in twice as big, then they can trade with the Jones family who had more tomatoes than they could handle but who hadn’t thought to plant zucchini this season.
Gardening classes within a school would also provide the school itself with fresh produce, which can help balance out the cost of the gardening classes themselves in addition to providing higher quality school lunches to the kids.
Each gardening class would set out to teach each student the actual process of planting, cultivating, and harvesting produce as well as teaching them about the needs of various plants and the planting cycles. They would also teach other important information about organic pest control, container and urban gardening, building greenhouses, and everything else that a kid would need to know to grow their own garden to provide for their own family.