Thursday, January 29, 2009

UBC Farm Friends

Yesterday morning was different. Last September I started a new volunteer job: spending a Wednesday morning every couple of weeks with grade 5 children at the UBC Farm. It's been quite an education for me. Yesterday we came back together after a month away, but this time we met at their school, Henderson Elementary. We spent most of the morning planning our garden plot (1 metre by 3 metres, and about 2 feet deep--How's that for Canadian measurement, mixing metric & Imperial). The children had been studying which vegetables are good companions and which do not grow well together. We, the "Farm Friends", had been sent the materials by email so we wouldn't be too far behind them. One of the teaching points was a Native idea of "three sisters" which was a garden of corn/beans which would use the stalks of corn to grow up/squash which has broad leaves that would block weed growth. We didn't want to have corn because it's too slow for the children to enjoy. Placing strips of coloured construction paper onto graph paper, the children plotted out what they would grow. It was very useful. After this exercise, the teacher collected the "maps" so that the seeds could be ordered so we could start planting in the spring. Our next meeting will be February 11th at the farm. After our planning event, we were served an amazing "pot luck" lunch provided by the children of the class in their classroom. I'm learning so much with this volunteer job, and meeting wonderful people of all ages--most especially grade five children.

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