A Gentle Rebellion, where some dirt will fly


Here’s a book that we wish we could purchase many, many copies of, allowing its fun lessons to spread far and wide. How to Grow a School Garden offers a step-by-step guide for creating an outdoor classroom, connecting kids to the simple lessons of where food comes from, and the always surprising world of nature nearby.

As the authors Arden Buckin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle write: “Enriching a school on so many different levels, a garden program is a gentle rebellion of sorts — an antidote to the sour note of diminishing resources.” Acknowledging this era of extremely tight school budgets, we should add that this innovative book also mounts a gentle rebellion against the sour notes of nature-deficit disorder and rising childhood obesity.

Lastly, we LOVE how level-headed and down-to-earth this book is:

We suggest that all notions of aesthetic fussiness and perfection be released, as they have no place in a school garden. Rows of carrots will be imperfect, wheelbarrows will tip, and dirt will fly. Plant enough to share with the inevitable critters that will take up residence (a little tolerance is a good thing)….Ask the students to paint the signs and label the beds; the more kid-centered your school garden is, the more the students will feel like kings in their kingdom. The overall appearance of the school garden should have a rambunctious, robust kind of beauty.

And here’s a very fun, and inspiring, film clip about the great work of Sprout City Farms and the Denver Green School!

If you would like to learn more about this community-building rebellion, the Land Library can enthusiastically recommend the following books from our Waterton Canyon Kids Library:

learning gardenfamily kitchen gardengardening w/ children
The Learning Garden: Ecology, Teaching, and Transformation by Veronica Gaylie, The Family Kitchen Garden: How to Plant, Grow, and Cook Together by Karen Liebreich, Jutta Wagner, and Annette Wendland, Gardening with Children by Monika Hanneman (from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s book series)

edible schoolyardseedfolkswildlife gardening
Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea by Alice Waters, Seedfolks, Paul Fleischman’s classic young adult novel on the power of community gardens, Wildlife Gardening: How to Bring Birds and Bugs to your Backyard by Martyn Cox

OK, it’s obvious by now that we love the creativity and fun of these books. Here’s a forthcoming title that the Land Library has on order, and that we’ll be very excited to see:

large asphalt to eco

And for related book ideas, you may want to link-back to earlier Land Library posts:

Child’s Play, Bush Houses & More

The Green Hour

To Make the World My Own

The Insect Man


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