Edible Gardens of Learning - First Steps in Bulgaria, Sofia, 2013
The Organic Gardens of Learning are the true and inspiring story about making a dream come true - to change the environment we live in - and about creating green oases of fertility in the heart of the large city. We created a real and accessible opportunity for our children to have daily, fulfilling and educational contact with live nature.
The idea for the Organic Gardens was born in 2010 after a peculiar question: “Mom, what tree do tomatoes grow on?” But the reasoning behind the project goes much deeper. It is the concern that our children are born and live in a world made of concrete and asphalt. How would they learn to live a healthy life and love nature, when they do not know and understand nature? How would they gain awareness on environmental issues and grow to be responsible individuals, when they do not have the chance to build a positive personal relationship with nature?
As parents, we fully understand that true knowledge comes from first-hand experience. We understand that making the best decisions is in our power and are at our fingertips. This is why we decided to dedicate our time and energy to creating something worthwhile that is interesting to both our children and ourselves.
In 2012 parents and teachers from ten state kindergartens in Sofia took the challenge to create the first Organic Gardens of Learning - natural and green classrooms in the kindergarten yard. There, children can learn, work, observe, create and study the principles and mysteries of living nature.
More than 3000 children, parents and teachers took part in creating the Organic Gardens of Learning. Together, we made the soil, seedbeds and pathways ready, we drew signs, we assembled composters. Every day devoted to creating an Organic Garden of Learning turned into a cheerful and unforgettable celebration for the entire community. Each of us learned a lot about the garden, about where food comes from, about organic farming, and about permaculture. We learned that indeed there is no need to use toxic chemicals in farming. We learned how to take care of the soil and make it fertile, how to value and respect natural resources. We learned a lot about the hidden talents and positive qualities that each child and adult carries within.
Personal experience is the best way to learn. Every child participated in the care for the garden: they planted seeds at home with their parents, waited to see how the plant sprouts and gets stronger, planted them in the garden’s seedbeds, and took care of the growing plant. Children watered, mulched and observed the growing plants with a lot of love, awaiting the harvest. They celebrated every new leaf, every new blossom and every new fruit as a common success. The lessons we learned go beyond straightforward gardening. The scientific approach, conscious care, persistence, patience and the satisfaction of seeing the end results are priceless skills for life. Healthy eating became a favourite game, which formed tastes and perceptions for life. Indeed, the most delicious cherry tomato is the one that you have grown yourself.
We Celebrate... our first Organic Harvest - October 2012
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