terra cura sponsors earth day program for healthy plymouth vacation week
It was an exciting day as 23 middle and high school students from 5 different Plymouth Schools participated in our Earth Day program on April 22nd facilitated by Jacqueline Millar. We started the morning with a smell, taste and touch activity of six different herbs and one root. The discussion was upbeat and interesting. The kids knew quite a few of these specimens and perhaps will plant them in their home or school garden.
We also did a Local vs. Industrial food exercise. The kids were amazed that in the growing and buying locally grown vegetables there are a only 6 steps. So on Friday the tomato that is harvested may be consumed after purchase at the farmer’s market on Saturday. The industrially raised tomato has 12 steps in its food system journey from planting to consumption. Three of these steps involved marketing and three involved the potential to the throw the food into the waste stream because of damage or imperfections. The potential time it would take from harvest to consumption could be weeks not days. This was an eye opening experience for the students, The group concluded that buying locally was better for the environment and it also supports a local business.
An important educational component shared with the students included Permaculture principles and what they mean in regards to a whole system design, which should incorporate a water catchment system as well as composting system, to be integrated into the raised bed garden we were about to install.
The installation of the six raised bed gardens at the Loring Center in North Plymouth is a direct result of the Plymouth community working together with a shared vision of enhancing the North Plymouth neighborhoods with engagement in healthy organic vegetables grown with their help in the their community. Terra Cura and Healthy Plymouth partnered with the Zion Lutheran Congregation, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, Emerald Landscaping and Lowes to provide the location, supplies and installation. This collaboration resulted in educating and engaging 23 young minds in the importance of people care, and care, earth care.
The hope is to have these raised beds utilized by the community in North Plymouth to grow local organic produce to be consumed by the residents or donated to the food pantry in this community.
Our closing activity involved the students by working in groups to develop a mission statement, location and design for a school or community garden in Plymouth. The talented teens created detailed plans and also indicated that they would like to help work in future gardens at Plymouth South Middle School, Manomet Elementary School, Nook Field and Nathaniel Morton Elementary School.
Three of the participants in the Earth Day programming will be working on the garden to be installed at the PCIS middle school on May 10, 2016. The town wide planting and planning continues to enable a community to grow and thrive!