Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Right, Left, Right, Left - Orchard Garden CFE May/02/17


The best thing about the start of this morning was that the sun was out.🌞 The sun seemed to give everybody an extra boost of energy. I can't wait till it's nice and toasty all day because it's still a bit chilly when you're in the shade right now. With the extra energy we had, we started our talk on the logistics of starting a garden at your school. What I got out of our discussion was that a good garden is pretty much started and run like a business.

The first step to starting a garden involves getting a team together to form a committee. This committee should be composed of other teachers, parent volunteers, administrators, and students. A committee isn't necessary, however, I believe that it would be extremely helpful. If others from the school are involved then it would be easier to get more work done, get more funding, and for someone to take over if you do not stay involved.  

It's also very important to find people for this committee who are like minded and want to reach the same goals. You wouldn't want to bring people into this project who have different attentions or have a different goal. They will only cause you and everyone else headaches over the long run. So before you can tell other people what your goals and vision are, you will need to figure out what those even are.

You will need to start with a mission statement. What do you want people to do or achieve in this garden every single day. A vision statement is also necessary. Vision statements are different than mission statements because they are more focused on what the organization is trying to achieve long term. In other words, your mission and vision statement, are short(day to day) and long term goals.

So what does a good goal actually encompass?
Any type of goals you every make, need to be SMART goals:


Once you've actually made your goals, you will have more focus on being able to find those people who will help your cause. It may be tough to start a garden the first couple of years in to teaching but I don't think it would be impossible. The biggest issue would just be getting enough people on board.

An idea we discussed to ease people into supporting a garden is to start small. Start by having a couple of plants in pots. If everything works out well with this, you can progress to wooden beds. To get some tech involvement, the woodworking students could be the ones who build the beds.From here, we would slowly keep going for m
ore space to try to make this thing as big as possible. 

Before expanding, you should make sure this thing would still be able to run without you. If you were to leave and things crumbled, the feeling of your hard work falling apart wouldn't feel good. This is why it is important to have the right people involved. Also, you will need to convince people why the garden should keep growing. You need to provide some types of positive results that have occurred because of the garden. After our discussion, we changed it up and created pots out of newspaper.

We made these pots by wrapping newspaper around a chess pawn looking object. We then folded up the excess newspaper and squished it down on a weird puck like object. This helped mend the paper into place so we could load it with soil and our choices of seeds. There were seeds for peas, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, basil, and lettuce. I'm hoping I did it right and the plants are able to sprout. Susan showed up and facilitated the next set of discussions and activities with us.

Brendan H.

Today, Susan weaved us into the wonderful world of cordage. Upon watching a video that she, herself, narrated and featured in (that's why we got her autograph on our WorkSafe documentation), we discovered that rope-making was a practice that stretches back around 35,000 years! We were encouraged to consider the incredible lineage cordage possesses; there's a natural inclination toward the motion of creating rope, perhaps evoked by its long ancestry.

Although the Industrial Revolution may have ushered in an era of efficiency, something is lost in the transition. We have lost the intimacy of creation. We have removed ourselves from the process, and we have removed ourselves from each other. However, the traditional method of cordage naturally encourages community. Susan's workshop demonstrated this as we all communally created our ropes—and we also saw that in the video, groups of people came together to weave and create their beautiful threads. Everyone shares in the experience by teaching, learning, demonstrating, and by collaborating. The sharing of ideas was constant and a few of us stole the idea of creating rope coasters as shown above.

After a further lesson on braiding, Susan wanted us to create rope and braid through dance! We made connections between the movement of bobbins, of our fingers to bustin' a move. Furthermore, we forged links between music and production! Perhaps that's why work songs like "Heigh-Ho" by the Seven Dwarfs exist! There's an intrinsic tendency in all of us to analogize any sort of work to music. We are rhythmic beings, I believe. To throw in a buzzword, the workshop truly touched upon the cross-curricular nature of garden pedagogy. Everything seems to intersect and come vibrantly alive within the context of the garden.

Thankfully, our dancing was pretty top-notch. We created a beautiful rope and then transformed the same piece into a wonderful flat braid that consisted of eight streams. I thought the contrast between the two methods of cordage was fascinating. The first method was us using our hands while the second method was dancing the rope to life. By using our hands, we were able to examine the rope as a whole and maintain control to the best of our ability, but by dancing, I thought it was really cool to be a part of the weave. I was one of the ribbons weaving in and out. As Susan suggested, hay (haye/hey) dance was one that could be found within older cordage machines (Swedish, Medieval, etc.), and by performing such movements, we were able to become the mechanism for creation.

Perhaps, this may be something to explore. What designs would other types of dance create? How about marrying more conspicuously, the mathematics of dance with cordage? Things to ruminate upon...

Also, videos coming soon!

General Garden (Dilpreet)

After our short lunch we were put right to work. Everyone had great enthusiasm and worked at a high tempo for most of the gardening. We worked in little groups to complete our tasks and I have really liked this so far. There is a very good vibe so we are able to have some laughs and get work done at the same time.

Some of the tasks that people completed in the garden today include:
- Watering plants
- Spread out the compressed dirt on the beds using hoes
- Planting seeds
- Weeding
- Planting kale
- Raking the beds
- Pouring mushroom manure on spots that things were going to be planted
- Mixed manure in with the dirt
- Made little structures so that the kale that was slumping, could grow better
- Cleaned up

I really appreciated everyone's attitude and hard work today. We seemed to have gotten a good amount of work done and I don't think it was just a coincidence. Overall, a great day at the Orchard Garden. 👍👍

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