|From left to right: Weiyan, Emma, Charles|
|Charles, Emma, and Weiyan take a bite out of their hard work!|
|Many touching stories connecting the community and their|
experiences of food and gardening are on display.
Throughout this CFE I have been constantly reminded of the theories of Vygotsky, Dewey, and Piaget, as well as the First Peoples Principles of Learning. (*For those of you not studying or working in the education field, these perspectives have made major contributions to the discipline and privilege process over product, learning through doing.) In the same way, community gardens seem to embody the idea that people construct knowledge from experiences and the social environment around them, instead of memorizing facts by rote. Furthermore, and perhaps even more relevant in the context of Roots on the Roof, the place of learning acts as a vital hub for the community. This couldn’t be more evident than through the various programs, outreach, and learning opportunities on offer by them (as well as by the Orchard Garden!).
|Charles shows a community quilt developed|
through Roots on the Roof.
|Unused roof space at UBC, and by extension, the world!|
I remember reading that in order to feed the global population (currently about 7.6 billion people) we need a cumulative agricultural land mass the size of South America. While it seems likely that industrial agricultural will always be required to meet our needs, the opportunities provided by rooftop gardens (and other under-utilized spaces) could be enormous. In addition, rooftop gardens provide a number of unexpected benefits (called externalities in economic jargon) like insulating buildings that helps cool in the summer and retain heat in the winter, lowering the carbon footprint of the transportation costs associated with transporting food from farm to market, and the immeasurable benefits provided to the community by bridging the disconnect between grower and consumer.
Having thought about the changes I would like to see in the world, I’m left wondering how I might be able to meaningfully and intentionally affect it. Although it probably sounds trite, I can’t think of a better way than through teaching future generations (my students) what I’ve been learning in my CFE this week. If there isn’t one already, starting a community garden at my school is a must. Similarly, (and this is definitely best left for another blog post) I’m learning that students (myself included) retain content through being actively engaged in projects with tangible outcomes, like gardening! It follows that through garden-based learning I can teach the content required by the curriculum while impacting future generations to be the kind of informed, critically engaged, and reflective citizens that can change the world… one rooftop at a time.