Let's sow science and conscience: Manual of school gardens for teachers, edited by El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ecosur), in San Cristóbal de la Casas, Chiapas is the result of the collective work of teachers of biology, history, literature, ethics, art and mathematics and pedagogy advisers, technical and academic staff.
The raw material ofLet's sow science and awareness It was developed in the Laboratorios para la Vida: science, local knowledge, nutrition and environmental care in the school garden, derived from the LabVida action-research program, which the ecosur academics launched in 2012 and whose objective was to integrate scientific inquiry , agroecology, nutrition and health in the daily life of the school, the garden and the community.
According to Helda Morales - coordinator of the manual together with Candelaria Hernández, Mariely Mendieta and Bruce Ferguson - the experiences of more than 60 teachers who have participated in the diploma, who have been accompanied in the construction of their school garden programs, they have made it possible to design pedagogical activities "in which knowledge of science, local knowledge, nutrition and environmental care can be adapted to their context".
The manual is a guide, a set of practical advice, where the activities, in addition to being flexible, are adapted to the different biocultural environments of the Mesoamerican region. Thus, within the garden a wide spectrum of topics is addressed: food, environment, mathematics, ethics, Spanish and social sciences, “which can facilitate the exploration of practically any academic subject. They also show that they serve as meeting spaces between the school and the community, facilitate the implementation of cross-cutting projects and the development of skills, supporting teaching-learning in both rural and urban areas ”, Helda Morales explains in the presentation.
All activities can be carried out at different times: from before the garden is established to the harvest, covering different educational levels, from preschool to university.
As the coordinators of the manual have been able to verify, school gardens constitute an educational tool that makes the work of teachers more effective, since they are living laboratories where the teaching-learning process acquires greater significance.
In the activities that the manual proposes, we can appreciate that school gardens are one of the best options to start on the path of science, through the process that goes from its creation to its conservation and maintenance: deciding how and where to put to walk the garden; investigate how the soil needs to be to receive the seeds and which of them are the most suitable, and why, when and how they should be sown (seedbed or direct sowing), in addition to observing everything that happens there from the growth stage to the harvest. This makes it possible to explore and discover different ways of solving the different problems that arise.
In these living laboratories, teachers and students build their knowledge by recognizing their own knowledge, based on the three axes that support the school garden: agroecology, conscious eating and the rescue of local knowledge. Within this educational process, critical and reflective thinking develops, which is the basis of a true education and the social appropriation of knowledge.
ContentLet's sow science and awareness It is a provocation that not only awakens the need to protect the environment, along with the concern of wanting to grow our food to eat healthy; it also leads us to discover what is behind what we eat, what is the economic, geographical, political and even scientific and technological history of each food.
In short, school gardens generate ecology and knowledge, and through them we can reap health.