Susan Reimer wrote a piece on the Garden Variety blog of the Baltimore Sun about the objections that people have when it comes to school gardens. I’m pretty sure that the mentions were specific to the Chicago area.
In my humble opinion the reasons that people gave were ridiculous.
Before we get to the reasons I want to express my beef with the fact that the food grown in the school gardens can’t be used in the cafeteria’s to feed the kids. According to the article:
Monica Eng of the Chicago Tribune describes the garden bounty grown by Chicago public school children, and reports that school system rules — which do not apply to the commercial food suppliers — prohibit any of that food from making it into the school cafeteria.
C’mon. Seriously? They can’t be served the food that they grow, but they can eat the stuff that’s pawned off as food everyday?
Am I missing something here? What kind of message does this send to the kids? You can grow your own food, but don’t eat it. That would be bad. WTF?!?
Sending the Wrong Cultural Messages
Now on to the objections for having the school gardens. The first were cultural objections. Yes, cultural objections.
People thought that since some of the kids were minorities that it might send the wrong message. The reason is that they could’ve come from a background of farm workers or slaves.
Ok, what’s wrong with this? Knowing how to tend to the land and grow our own food is one of the most important things that we can possibly do. Yet we see it as unskilled labor. This is how far disconnected we have become from our food.
You know what sends the wrong message? Being a banker or someone in the financial field and screwing someone out of their money. That’s the wrong message.
Time Is Better Spent on Real Education
The final objection was that time could be better spent on education like math and reading. First off you need math and reading to grow your food. You also need to use critical thinking skills.
What is so great about the curriculum of the current education system? Unless you are an engineer or physicist who really needs to know what sine, cosine and tangent are? They are freaking useless.
Learning how to grow your own food, now that is knowledge. It allows us to be independent and not rely on others. Instead education teaches us how to rely on others and to become consumers.
By the way isn’t the school year based on the agricultural calendar? Kids have off during the summer to tend to and harvest crops? What’s happened to that?
Yet again schools show us how they are hypocrites when it comes to educating the kids about food and nutrition.
Updated on November 30, 2010: Robert Bloomer, regional vice president, Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality, Chicago responded to this post in Letters to the editor. Read his reason here.