I leave garden class everyday thankful for a heart swelled with hope and love. Very toucy-feely sounding, I know, but true. It's the little things that garden students say and do that remind me every time that our future is safe in the hands of these forward-thinking mahi'ai (cultivators of food).
One little second grader today, a brown-haired mini-genius missing a front tooth and wearing a fushia headband that matched the pink leggings setting off her jean mini-skirt and leapard print, fur-lined boots confided to me at the begining of class, "Miss Krista, whenever I come to garden, I feel really close to nature." I was dumbfounded. All I could say was, "I'm so glad. How does it feel to be close to nature?" "Good," she answered.
In my next class, 3/4 grade, we had a major breakthrough. I've been trying to figure out how to "chip" potassium-rich spent banana trunks for quicker integration into our garden beds and compost. A group of garden warriors in training stumbled upon an answer: give four 9/10 year old boys dull garden sheers, a cut down banana trunk, and a challenge to work together to safely dismantle the entire stalk. Within minutes, the boys discovered that spreading out down the banana log, jabbing the sheers into the down stump and then rapidly opening and closing the stuck sheers ripped the stalk to shreds in no time at all. While the banana tree pieces were amended into garden soil by other students, I congratulated the boys for sucessfully inventing a vital new garden method. They knuckle-bumped each other, sweat dripping down their faces, and headed to the hose for a drink.
Then there was the 7/8 graders and the salsa challenge/bean feed. We've discovered that one food crop that does grow through drought and neglect tempered with alot of love are these beautiful, spotted purple and white, lima beans. The kids love them boiled with salt, pepper, and onion, like Latino-style pintos. I drain them, sprinkle them with cheese, as eager kids and doubtful kids alike scoop them up and devour them with corn chips or corn tortillas we hand make. The salsa challenge was a way to incorporate random garden items - tomatoes, lilikoi, raddish, papaya, and lime - into something to complement the beans. The challenge was on as students worked together to slice the salsa items and invent different combinations. We ended up with limey guacamole, lilikoi/papaya/tomato/cilantro/onion salsa, radish/lime/tomato/cilantro salsa and three clear winners. A huge pot of beans, salsa reminents, and chips were shared with the rest of the Jr. High at lunch. A sub teacher said, "I've never seen beans that big and beautiful." Miss Meg, lead 7/8 grade teacher added, "I've never seen 40 kids lined up to eat lima beans."
It goes without saying that these relevations flavor my day with uplifting vibes and hope. There is great power in the natural positivity of children. I feel lucky to be able to tap into their infinite energy and work with these little bundles of wisdom to secure a sustainable future.
Krista Joan says:
My mission is to teach, train, and testify in resistance to the white supremacy of my ancestors. My personal choices are political, powerful, and practical. Let's trash waste.