Thursday, 5 May 2016

Sofia - Orchard Garden CFE - May 5th

Today we went to lovely UBC Farm, where all kinds of great things happen! We were in the Children's Garden with the Landed Learning Project, where UBC Farm works with elementary school children to teach them all about gardening. We received a warm welcome with coffee, tea, and cookies to start off our day. There were a large number of community volunteers who come to help the children to learn about gardening; it was great to see children working with people who are all different ages. 
Every time the children visit there is a different theme to the day. Today's theme was water - which Stacey, the leader, pointed out is an essential topic especially at this time of year as we are coming into drought and forest fire season. Children learned about the importance of water for irrigation and hydration and how photosynthesis works. 
They then learned how to make "Compost Tea" which is brewed with compost, weeds and other plant parts to create a nutrient-rich "tea" which delivers nourishment and aerobic bacteria to the plants. It also acts as a pest and disease suppressant. 

The Landed Learning days seem to be a fantastic and innovative way for young students to learn not only gardening/outdoor skills, but also valuable information about science, nature, math (through counting and calculating ratios), English (through new vocabulary, garden planning, and communication) and many other things. There is also a great social-emotional component, as students need to not only work with their classmates, but also with community members of all ages. Without working and cooperating together, they would not be able to accomplish as much as they do. 

To end the day we spent time helping small groups of 4 - 5 students to do various garden tasks. For example, one group weeded bluebells, one harvested some kale, another got rid of some caterpillars that had invaded a tree. In total there were 5 or 6 work stations, and we got quite a bit done!

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