Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Importance of a Garden: AERA visits The Orchard Garden!

After so many, many months of cold rain, we were blessed with gorgeous sunshine on Friday for a visit by an international group of scholars and colleagues in the field of environmental education.  This year Vancouver is hosting the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)- we were honoured to participate in the conference and host an off-site visit to The Orchard Garden as well as the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project at the UBC Farm (check out their link: Landed Learning).

The group of roughly 35 participants traveled from the convention center to the UBC Farm on a white hybrid bus.

Jolie describes the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project (celebrating 10 years this June!)

The group explored the garden where elementary children and their "Farm Friend" mentors cultivate group garden plots over the course of 12 visits to the farm

To wrap up at the farm, the group enjoyed a kale salad from the garden, and local bread and cheese while Tathali described her doctoral research on culturally-sensitive food practices within the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project

For the second half of the off-site conference visit the group traveled by hybrid bus to visit us in The Orchard Garden.

The group divided in half to discuss related garden-based learning projects, pedagogical principles of learning gardens, researching slow pedagogy in the garden, embodied learning in the garden, troubling cultural narratives of 'Garden as Paradise', teacher education in learning gardens, the sociocultural context of learning gardens, and performing more-than-human research methodologies in the garden.  The conversation was rich with diverse perspectives as participants hailed from Australia, Sweden, the U.S., and Canada.

Julia discusses her performative methodologies for her doctoral research

Susan discusses her research around troubling cultural narratives of gardens as Eden

The group explores the garden and discusses the pedagogical challenges/benefits in using gardens as outdoor classrooms

A chickadee is nesting in one of the birdhouses children made for us last summer.  We are eagerly looking forward to potential mason bees joining us this week.  Cover crops of rye, fava, alfalfa & vetch are leafy and green.  Garlic is sporting strong, strapping leaves.  The sun is shining.  We are honoured to share this garden and learning space with our ecological partners as well as this wonderful group of scholars, writers, teachers, and gardeners.  
Thank you to Marcia and the Environmental Education Special Interest Group for giving us the opportunity to share our efforts. 

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