Since I began gardening in the fall of 2011, I have come to find that the gardens, places and people which I have encountered have taught me more than I ever thought I would, or could learn. My gardening quest began as a quest for truth and self-reliance. Where does our food come from? How does a carrot grow? What is the source? What is a GMO? What does organic really mean? Can we really trust food labels? Puzzled by an abyss of unrelenting questions I would dare not dive into, I decided it was time to do it myself. Why worry about a genetically modified carrot, when I can grow it myself? These endless questions, coupled with my love for food, dirt, and sheer stubbornness, made gardening seem just the thing.
And it became the thing I could not stop thinking about. It was as if a seed suddenly planted itself in my heart and would not stop growing...I couldn't control it..the urge to grow something, everything! I soon found myself in a frenzy. A recent college graduate with no money and student loans, now was not the time to invest in a project I knew nothing about, but I couldn't help it. So I found ways. I saved empty Tazo tea canisters as herb pots in lieu of those chic ones I saw at garden centers. I dug up uncultivated dirt from the ground outside my house. I broke off rosemary twigs from my Aunt Lani's front yard while visiting her in Huntington Beach, CA during my usual weekend surf adventures.
|Photo by: Tiffanie Ma|
That was only the beginning. I found myself hoarding stacks of gardening books at the Arcadia Library. I spent hours, tip-toeing my way to grabbing as many books on vegetable gardening, herb gardening, urban gardening, garden design, organic gardening, seed saving, composting, and the list goes on. I applied for a job teaching after school gardening in Culver City of Los Angeles. The organization was looking for an elementary after school teacher, and during the interview I was asked what fresh programs I could contribute. Without even thinking, I blurted out, "what about an Urban Gardening course?" Before I knew it, I had signed myself up for something I was obsessed with and had absolutely no idea of how to start teaching what I had little, if any, knowledge of. Great.
After shaking hands with the coordinator and leaving the room, I drove the long L.A. horror-of-a-commute home freaking out. But then, I came to my senses, and thought to myself, this is perfect. I have experience teaching, I am an intelligent and self-driven individual, I can create a curriculum from scratch and figure this out. It was back to the library, and online where I found extensive garden-based curriculum resources provided by my beloved state of California from the California School Garden Network. While playing the part of "Miss Tiffanie", I too, became a student of five young, but wise, Farragut Elementary School garden enthusiasts. We had a BLAST!
|Photo by: James Yankopolus|