FoodCorps Friday- Spring is a Time for Sproutin’
By Captain Planet Foundation service member, Greg LaFortune
What a time to be Alive! I mean, literally, it is time for the garden to start sproutin’, and I couldn’t be more excited. The kids are ready to get their hands dirty in the soil, plant seeds, and be cultivators of their own. I am blessed with the chance to see them grow in amazing ways. Even myself, I am seeing changes within my own life. The students I serve motivate and keep me going, especially during those times when I feel down and under the soil. Even though I can step back and look at how things have changed for the better, there are times where it is difficult to do so.
Things are going well at Woodland Middle School. We officially started our Garden Club, and these kids are on another level. The enthusiasm and excitement they show is truly inspiring. During the month of January, the 7th grade students planted green onions in one of the garden beds. Excited and prepared to see our onions sprout, the students are taking care of the beds, watering them frequently, monitoring them closely, and anticipating what is to come. Hours go by, days go by, weeks go by, and even months go by, but nothing. It seems as if those chives aren’t meant to grow. “Did we do something wrong Mr. Lafortune?” “Did we plant bad seeds?” These questions were deep and I could tell the students were passionate about this. These kids needed these green onions, and what they were going to realize would blow their minds, because it definitely blew mine.
At Feldwood Elementary School, I continue to work closely with the first grade students to create a healthy cookbook with recipes they can try with their families. Their ideas are creative and very interesting. From the drawings to writing the directions, they are taking full control of their book, and I am super proud.
Feldwood is also a place where you most definitely find happy kids with high pitched voices who possess an eagerness to go outside and keep watch of our school garden. We started Sprout Scouts, an after-school curriculum created by FoodCorps and used by service members, in the last month. The first day, we had about 7 kids show up. One Sprout Scouts activity in particular, “Garden on a Cracker,” really got them excited and ready to put in work. In this activity, students create their own “garden” on a cracker using different veggies and toppings. Ever since then, more students have heard about Sprout Scouts, and our Scout numbers are only increasing. One day, while filling our beds with new soil, our Scouts realized that we had lettuce growing. What they were going to realize will blow their minds, because it definitely blew mine.
On March 29, about two months after we planted our green onions, the Garden Club students were in the garden thinning some carrots. Randomly, a student walks up to me with something in his hand and said “Look, Mr. Lafortune.” I then saw what he held in his hand and noticed that it was a green onion! I asked him where he found it at, and he showed me. I approached the bed. I was stunned to see how 3 green onions grew in a bed that we did not even plant them in. “Look, there’s more,” another student said. I looked up and across the garden, up a hill, and at least 50 feet away, what seemed like a whole field of green onions were growing. We all were excited and shocked at the same time. We ran up the hill to our newly discovered crops. and tried to count them, but we were outnumbered. Who would’ve known that something we planted in one bed would sprout in a completely new area?
I took this time to sit back and think. In life, sometimes we set the conditions to flourish in one specific area. We do all that we can to make sure that this is the place we see growth and success. But the way life is set up, it moves us to a completely new place. And in that place, we begin to notice serious growth in abundance! Like the green onions, sometimes you will end up growing in a soil far away from where you initially were planted, and that’s okay! All that matters is that you are bigger, better, and stronger than before. The lettuce at Feldwood taught us a valuable lesson as well. We noticed that we had lettuce growing outside of our garden bed and literally inches away from where we planted them. Sometimes you’ll grow far away and other times you’re just inches from where you need to be. Trust the process. It’s gonna’ come!