Ackerschule – School Gardening

……. we are just trying a bit.

Gardening is – in many respects – a contradiction to formalized school-life.

Why not give the facts a different, more fact-based and less formal – interpretation?

Why not try to let ourselves be touched by life-experience

like a sculpture that moves in regular patterns as it is the fact with music?

We are the instruments – let us learn to play!

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  1. About Pestalozzi-Gymnasium
  2. About Portia and Martin. Portia is a former volonteer of our Pen Pal Program. She started 2015 in St. Anthony, Monrovia, where she got to know Father Johnny and many others of those who are still working for a better Liberia. She passed her Bachelor in Biology in Buchanan, met Jessica Washburn, found new striking ideas and the best man ever, Martin. Their gardening project is a professional one. It’s located in Nimba-County, Ganta.
  3. Slow-Food Cooperation in planning

8th grade students walked around and testified the ethical implications of our school gardening (7/2021).

They made suggestions about grouping seats around a bed, placing a round table made of stone in the middle of an area, have a long stone bench by the site, so that students can take a seat and watch flowers. They found the ground mostly in bad constitution and made thoughtful suggestions how things could improve for all: plants and humans.

We drew the conclusion that we would automatically end up in a more sustainable and nature-friendly culture, if we’d care perfectly for the dignity of man.

In fact it is against dignity of man to beat a dog, to eat meet from mass-slaughtery and to have a school court, that’s not used for plants. (Helena, Hannah, Selma und Mila)

Since the beginning of 2020 there has been a real school garden at Pestalozzi-Gymnasium, which consists of six raised beds and two arable land.

For each of the three plantings in the course of the year, our field specialist – she is known as the „field coach“ – comes to us at the school and guides us through planting and sowing. Vegetables are grown from potatoes and radishes to Swiss chard, beetroot, as well as cabbage and corn.

The fields change annually and care is taken to ensure that nutrients and eaters, i.e. plants that tend to upgrade the soil with nutrients, and those that remove many nutrients from the soil, alternate. Together we learn how to pile up potatoes, strip tomatoes and chop zucchini.

The basic principle is a mulch-hack management, and so we don’t have to water often, because the chopping destroys the capillaries that transport water from deeper layers to the surface, where it then evaporates.

In addition to growing vegetables, a sweet snack garden is gradually emerging in the school: currants, raspberries and blackberries as well as two grapevines are already there. Small trees will soon follow, so we can see on the spot how our food is developing and simply pick it when it is ripe.

Cornelia Theus, teacher at Pestalozzi-Gymnasium and member of the Liberiaprojekt (source: annual report 2020/21)


2. Betdal, Ganta

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Transforming From  Reliance to Self Sufficiency

Through 

Community  And School  Gardening 

It is often said that more value is placed on something  when it is achieved  by one’s own work and effort. Over the decades, Liberia has benefitted  from donations from different  international  organisations and foreign governments. These donations have been made in various sectors of the Liberian society such as: health, education, security, infrastructure, agriculture and etc.. But why is it there are little or no tangible impacts that we can find around us in our rural and urban surroundings?

Why is it that project infrastructure that are to benefit communities and cities  are no longer functioning after closure.



The answer is simple, most Liberian are accustomed to or indoctrinated with the ideology  of receiving from others rather than helping themselves.

This syndrome  has its deep roots in the missionary  invasion of Africa and free donations of  almost everything during  and after the decades of the bloody civil war.

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However there is still hope for us, because there are some or many other Liberians who do not subscribe to the idea of being liability on foreign  counterparts for the rest of our lives, hence with the natural soil and suitable  environment for breeding new innovations, the cycle of poverty,unemployment, crimes, low self esteem and many other problems facing young Liberians can be broken.

Now one of the medium  by which we can transform from Reliance to self Sufficiency is  through  agricultural training  skills programs, the mind of Liberians young people will be transformed and their livelihood can transcend from poverty to a better future.

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Furthermore, when youth are given  skills on how to grow their own food and to see gardening as an entrepreneur activity, the possibility of self employment can be achieved.

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Finally do not always give a man a fish, but teach him how to fish. Be the change for developmental action.

Additional community gardening helps to preserve our forests, wildlife and reduces the damages or ham plastics substances causes to the environment in urban and rural areas.

 

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In communities where crop rotation are practised over decades the damage to the forest flora and fauna are less as compared to places or regions where Bush following farming are practiced.

On the other hand in urban areas or cities where bulk of the materials used daily are manufactured from rubber, therefore students can be trained on how to make use of old plastics bags, buckets, cement, bags, etc. to grow vegetable in the backyards; hence promoting and reducing hunger among youths.

7/27/2022 by Martin D. Tarpeh


3. Collaboration on Gardening and Education in Monrovian Schools

There is a core project which has been initiated to provide school-feeding for the students who help to grow their own food right in Capital Monrovia.

The approach is some years old, it is working, but not really scientifically planned. We want to spread this project and perform more efficiently.

As we cannot move alone we think that it could be a good idea to ask for a Slow-Food-Membership for From Street to School and From Street to School und Globales Lernen.

The discussion is still running ….. it is worth keeping your fingers crossed. Surely!

If you want to support the gardening project, feel free to write a short Email to liberiaprojekt@liberiaprojekt.de. We will come back to you gratefully.