It’s summertime, and the living sure is easy. Outside of classroom walls, I have been leading students in garden basics. It’s been enlightening watching curious minds make lifelong connections to the food they eat.
One of my favorite garden experiences this season has been the Farmers Market trip with Wings Park’s summer school in Oelwein. Every Friday, we took a grade-level group to the market. Here, they were given coupons to purchase items. The produce and homemade bread was then turned into a delicious meal with the help of students. I cannot tell you how wonderful those mornings were. Each farmer was generous and patient, answering the many questions volleyed by the excited children. Students could hardly contain their joy as they ran from tent to tent, looking for the best deal.
From the plant to our plant, students could not wait to eat. Everything tasted fabulous! We enjoyed salads with radishes and our garden-grown basil dressing. The bread was delightful with butter we had made, flavored with oregano and rosemary the students grew. Our salad greens were mixed with our own kale, ripped out of the garden minutes before it was eaten.
Now that July is here, I am sad that summer school has ended. The garden now seems a bit smaller, a bit emptier. I also realize that ten fourth graders (or first graders for that matter) can accomplish a lot more than a single person. Watering is a lot more tedious now. As the summer lingers on, I am also saddened for the ending of my first service term. Next year will bring new changes, new adventures. It will, however, mean the end of my service in Oelwein. I have so enjoyed the community and the pillars of support FFI has in the district. I am grateful for my year and all that it has taught me, and cannot wait till next summer rolls around. I am sure the garden will be ready too.