Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back to School

It's nearly that day:  the First Day of School.  Around here, that means the Tuesday after Labor Day.  If you head into any of the W-marts, K-Marts, or mall chain department stores, it is a jam-packed horde of small children and parents in fierce negotiations for folders, notebooks, lunchboxes and new blue jeans.  Buy it, buy it, buy it.  If its got glitter or a superhero on it, let's charge $10 more for it and toss it into the cart.  Need a pencil?  Buy twenty five of them that glow in the dark.  Want a cool pencil box?  Here's one that doubles as an MP3 player--every first grader needs one of those!  The whine of gimmegimmegimmegimme can be heard over the beep-da-boop of the cash registers.

Oh my.  It's nearly as overwhelming as Black Friday and the Christmas Machine mayhem.

I've found myself spending as much time as possible in the garden, not just to avoid the department stores but to eek out the last moments of summer break for as long as I can.  I have plans to celebrate the holiday tomorrow by baking bread, brewing some pumpkin ale, and maybe making something fresh from the yard for dinner.  Peaceful sounding, isn't it?  If everyone's back to school preparations involved gardening, just think about how nice a world it would be.

It certainly would be less expensive. 

This isn't to say that I don't love me a fresh new eraser or notebook with my gal Wonder Woman on the cover; it's just that all the parents and most of the kids look stressed out and anxious before the school year even begins.  Now, that can't be healthy.  Freud or somebody would have something pithy to say about it, I'm sure.  I think if we put half the dollars that we put into buying supplies and new clothes, into growing local food for our schools to use, we'd be off to a much better start with the educational year than we will be come Tuesday.  Maybe we should start a campaign to make it mandatory for every school in America to have a garden, rather than a concrete playground or baseball field complex. 

Grow carrots, not footballs. 

Test scores lowering?  Feed those little minds greens, brocolli, and beans from outside the classroom door--I'm sure it would grow those teeny brain cells faster than that high-fructose, chemical preservative laden crap that the USDA calls "acceptable school lunch program meals". 

Ketchup is not a vegetable; you need the whole tomato to call it that.  Why not grow the whole plant?  Or a whole field of plants?

Recess would be fun.  Kids could climb the monkey bars, which would also be supporting vines for pole beans.  Tag between the cabbages, swings that let you reach out and grab handfuls of ready vegetables like carrots or onions.  Imagine how awesome sandbox toys would be to help do the weeding between rows of lettuces?!?

Sigh.  I shall now go out and preach amongst the beets and dwarf siberian kale, and suck the marrow from the last of the last weekend before school begins.  If you're looking for me, I'll be the crazy lady with the hoe.

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