This past Saturday I spent the morning digging in the dirt, turning the earth. As a part of my environmental studies class, I am to take part in a service learning project. The agency I am working with is called Boise Urban Garden School (BUGS).
BUGS uses organic gardening to interconnect community, students and teachers in a variety of issues. During school year and summer programs, people learn about sustainability, nutrition, ecology, health and literacy. Through actively running a summer produce stand, the students learn about local food economies. The "authentic learning environment" enables students to learn through "inquiry and problem solving". This in turn spurs critical thinking. Here, students can learn about where their food comes from. They learn to look at nature in a new light, and realize that there is an alternative to "a world of instant gratification". With the many values they learn through the BUGS program, we are one step closer to making the world a better place.
There are programs like this all over the world, even in your neighborhood. They may not necessarily be a school, but could be a community garden. Whether you live in the city or on a self sustaining farm, remember to connect with the food you eat. Food is more than just a commodity, more than simply nourishment and a way to survive. We are all connected to the world. With our fast food and processed everything, we lose sight of our roots.
The BUGS program is more than one way to find that reconnection. I encourage you to find something in your own community, or even just have a window box filled with herbs or tomatoes. There is more gratification in food that is cultivated from our own hands. And, nothing has ever tasted so delicious!