Magic Tree Clock

Sunday, April 25, 2010

School Farming - is the time finally now?

I am researching information in some early 20th century publications generally entitled, The Farmer's Wife. It is basically a magazine with stories, advertisements, helpful tips, discussions, etc., like any modern magazine. In the August 1912 issue, there is a paragraph called A New Measure of Farm Life. It says,

"From Wisconsin comes the prophecy that in the future every school will be surrounded by a small farm of from ten to fifteen acres, which will not only afford the pupils a chance of practice and education, but will enable the teacher to partly support himself on the land. Wisconsin, like a good many personal reformers, is living many years ahead of the times. This idea of school farming is not its only advance step. Wisconsin is one of the states that has passed laws whereby every school building shall be considered a Social Center for the community. Other states will find an excellent lesson to copy in this act of legislature."

This combination of growing food and social interaction is something that was lost in many places in America, for how long I don't really know. But today, the trend is moving toward this Wisconsin "prophecy". People are taking an interest in real food and finding ways to bring it to the schools and the kids. An elementary school in Loveland, Ohio has their Granny's Garden School, and all the kids get to work and in the garden, learn and practice the process of growing food, and enjoy the goods! Apparently they caught wind of the prophecy early, establishing the garden in April of 2002. Want to see what they are doing? Here's the link: Granny's Garden School.

Think about this. Ninety years after the publication that I hold in my hand was printed, a school farm was initiated in Loveland. What has kept this disconnection in place for so long? Schools are always social places for their communities, as called for in the Wisconsin law. Now I wonder about the impact of this social farming on the youth who get to participate and how their practice of home economics will be influenced. More home food gardens? What about their future of food budgeting and knowledge of nutrition? What will their kids be taught? Where else is this influence happening? What are other kids today missing at schools that only provide processed government frozen goods?

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