Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Peak Moment

YouTube. That vast bastion of silly videos. Not just so.

I have come upon an interesting YouTube channel called Peak Moment. They describe themselves as follows:
Peak Moment is a weekly series showcasing perspectives and initiatives for local self-reliant living. Programs feature host Janaia Donaldson's conversations and on-site tours with guests preparing for accelerating energy decline, climate chaos, and economic uncertainty.

Sample topics include: local food production; renewable energy; transportation alternatives; sustainable building; personal, economic, business, and governmental responses.
I've gotten to peruse some of the programs they've aired and found them to be pretty interesting. With 158 posted videos, there's an awful lot to watch and contemplate, but my searches yielded some nice stuff guessed it: school gardens.
Take a tour with team-teachers Glenda Berliner and Jeralyn Wilson, as they show us their elementary school garden bearing many fruits. It's an important part of the curriculum: children make mason bee boxes, grow colonial medicinal plants, learn of other cultures, and put science to work. It builds community: parents work together, students form a bucket brigade to transport wood chips. It's a site for celebrations like a pumpkin harvest or a play. Whether it's the flower and vegetable beds, or the restful Zen garden, this spot has become a favorite place to be, and to grow from.

Three things emerge for me from this video. First, Berliner and Wilson understand and ground the garden in the community; they envisioned the garden as a community space that would be realized most of the time as a community for children and children with teachers that ripples out into the broader community. Second, they really envisioned the garden as a place nested within a place. Their school seems (and I am careful here) to be adapted to the northwestern Washington state environment and not vice versa. The garden is a place about these people's place. Finally, we can note that however briefly they discuss curricula, the garden permeates it. Phys ed class runs through the garden and art class uses gourds.

Gardens are quite literally places of invention and generation.

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