Monday, June 7, 2010
In Praise of Soil
I'll say it: school gardening programs are the trend these days (a good one albeit!) and its hard to find a neighborhood in our "green friendly" east bay that does not have at least one school with its own garden and gardening curriculum. What is a lot harder to come across is an interdisciplinary gardening program that goes beyond the realms of plant science, nutrition, community gardening.
"In Praise of Soil" deserves to be praised for its innovative inter-disciplinary gardening program that successfully integrated gardening, visual arts, and nutrition into one comprehensive program.
On a personal note, this program speaks to me; as a child I would play in the dirt while my mom gardened. I would make designs out of seeds, form my piles of weeds into mazes and build sculptures out of soil. As I grew older, I began to see how gardening itself is an art, and soil and seeds are a medium that we can manipulate and form into something truly beautiful.
Zach Pine certainly understood this and was able to take his passion for art and gardening and turn it into a truly amazing program. Over a 3 month period, environmental artist Zach Pine taught 86 second and third graders to make temporary sculptures from soil, plants, and other natural materials. Additionally "In Praise of Soil" successfully incorporated gardening skills, community learning, lessons on plants and nutrition, and even photography into a gardening program that no doubt has made an amazing influence on the youth at Franklin Elementary school!