Seeds of Change at Allen Academy

Allen Academy doesn’t have much of a garden space: the school is situated on a large cul-de-sac framed by a jigsaw intersection in the urban sprawl of westside Detroit. School leaders, a dedicated teacher, and I had been making plans since the beginning of the school year for a garden that would border the school’s south-facing entrance, but unexpected turbulence in the school’s charter authorization nulled those efforts. Notwithstanding, I planted a tiny garden in a forgotten four by four plot on another side of the school with the third grade class I had been working with weekly since the start of the year. The kids were incredibly excited to sow seeds of their own and to watch seedlings emerge and flourish. This week, we harvested a bundle of radishes and a handful of lettuce that we used for our kale salad and a radish leaf pesto, and the marvel the students shared at realizing how a tiny seed became a zesty treat is a success story in itself. And despite my dismay about larger garden plans that never materialized, I’m realizing that an unending appreciation for real food can start as small as a seed, a radish, or a four by four garden bed. To close our school year together, I gave each third-grader a baggie with “seeds of change” to plant at home, inspired by one student who requested seeds so that he can turn the abandoned “field” that neighbors his house into a farm.

 

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