Monday, November 30, 2009

My potential garden is growing.

I’ve decided that I would like to start growing some of my own food, which is not a particularly practical idea considering that I’m thinking of packing my things and leaving Bariloche in about one and a half months. But why put off something that I want to start doing now? True, I don’t have a particularly spacious and well-lit apartment. True, I won’t be able to see the fruits (and vegetables) of my labors and good intentions in the time frame that I have left. True, I have never really done this before and would be starting from seeds, soil and high hopes. But life is about living, and I want to have some fun.

It started with an idea: introduce plants into my classrooms. On a whole, city kids aren’t familiar with the agricultural arts. I know from experience. In my mission to live a greener life, I feel an obligation to introduce the younger generation to options they might not ordinarily get exposed to.

My youngest class, ages 9 through 11, was the guinea pig class. We voted on the veggies we would be planting. Tomatoes, carrots, spinach, onion and green peas. I persuaded the director of the institute that it was a wise investment of AR$21 (equivalent to US$6) to provide seeds and soil to ten eager elementary English students.

Mixed results came from this project. Students were enthusiastic when their plants started to sprout, some more than others. They learned new vocabulary. And felt a sense of pride and responsibility of caring for another organism. But I found it difficult to incorporate the plants into the curriculum. With another class to keep up with and a textbook to follow, the plants were pushed into the background.

Meanwhile, I used leftover seeds and some new ones (basil and parsley) to accompany my vibrant hot chili pepper plant, Ludro, to create my own minigarden. Without a proper place to put the plants, they live perched precariously outside my front door. Nighttime temperatures dip below the ideal and this spring has been a mixed bag of unpredictable long days of rain followed by abundant sun. So far nothing is showing much response to my endless love and affection, except Ludro who is an expectant mother of 5 plump chili peppers. Yum.

My plan is to leave Bariloche on the second of January 2010. Amazing how I’ve now been comfortable in Bariloche for over a year. And you know what that means, a sappy looking-back-at-the-last-year blog post is sure to follow. Stay tuned!

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