Why our schools should be farms
I write this, not as a vegan. I write this, not as a person who is well informed on agriculture.
I recently visited Split Log Farm, a local urban farm with KC HEALTHY KIDS. KC HEALTHY KIDS’ mission statement:
“KC Healthy Kids rallies the people in our communities to improve access to affordable fresh food and safe places to walk and play. When our neighborhoods support healthy habits, we are less likely to suffer from obesity, which is linked to T
ype 2 diabetes, heart disease, and poor mental health. To make a lasting impact, we shape policies that improve our food system and physical surroundings, and, ultimately, the places where we live, work, learn, and play.”
We are a product of our environment, so why not make better environments?
At this farm, I spoke with Heather and Steve. I asked dumb question after dumb question about farms because I didn’t know much about farms. I lived in Long Island, NY until I was 18. After that, I did an astounding job of avoiding anything outdoor.
There are so many issues in the world. Let’s be honest, we all complain about the class that we are in. In retrospect, you battling your way from middle class to upper middle class while blaming the rich is pointless. Just like a parent tells their kid “You only need food and housing. Everything else is extra.” Poverty is the real problem; not that you may just have to cut your family vacation two days short this year.
Acquiring food and shelter, the two basics necessities for living, are real problems. It’s easy to say “Not my problem”, but it’s our community’s problem. Some live in poverty because of irresponsible decisions, like drugs or having children they can’t afford. Still, I believe everyone deserves a second chance. You can’t have seconds at Thanksgiving dinner until everyone has had first helpings.
Everyone needs help at some point. You’ve needed help at some point. I’ve needed help. Hell, I still need help! You know who else needs help? The 98% of the students in the school across the street from this urban farm.
Not all poor people make bad decisions. There are so many hard working people trying their hardest to make an honest living only to see nothing but hard times. Yeah, I’m struggling but I’ve got a roof over my head and food (Chipotle every day as an ambassador of the company) so I can’t complain too much.
Many of the students in this school are children of single hard working parents/guardian. While momma is working 16 hours shifts, who do you think is there to mold their kids? No one. Yeah, mom is working hard but kids can’t see it from home.
While these kids are home alone they only have access to cheap foods. The food that is easily accessible to the metropolitan areas is rarely healthy. You are a product of your environment. This leads to childhood obesity.
Unhealthy living leads to unhealthy people. Unhealthy people lead to days off, money lost, and more government help. So when you say “Not my problem”, it actually becomes your problem. And don’t even get me started on the small percentage of money that goes towards welfare compared to the billions given in government bailouts and pointless international affairs.
Why do we think it’s normal for an 8-year-old to sit for 7 hours a day? Hell, it’s even wrong for 16-year-olds to be strapped down to a desk for an entire day. I can honestly say that I’ve learned very little about real life expectations from school. If I bring a report late to a client, I cannot receive extra credit at the end of a fiscal quarter.
“I didn’t learn what hard work was until I was being punched in the face when I didn’t work hard enough.” -@Camfawesome
Boxing has taught me so much about personal accountability that it makes the school system seem silly. And no, at no fault of our underpaid, overworked teachers. It’s at fault of the system we’ve kept in place.
Everyone has an opinion and feels the desire to point out problems. Rarely do these people have solutions. Luckily, I do.
I believe that our public education is paid for by the people in their community. The hard working people actually paying taxes. They deserve an ROI. Public schools need to turn a majority of their playgrounds into plots of soil. They should invest in hydroponic systems and make farming 75% of their curriculum.
These students will be active while working outside. They will be responsible for working every role in the agriculture industry. From manual labor of preparing the soil to calling clients (person in the neighborhood that qualifies for food) to make sure they are happy with the product. Yeah, they will learn customer service.
Oh, it’s cold in the winter time? It’s going to be cold when they’re going to work in ten years- prepare them for the future with actual hard work.
Where will they learn math? Little Timmy has 100×100 plot of land. Little Timmy has 10 lettuce seeds but only has space to plant 7 due to the carrots his classmate planted. On average, each seed produces 8 pounds of lettuce every 6 days. How long will it take Little Timmy fill the customer order or 100 pounds of lettuce?
After the class interactively decides how much land Timmy is allotted for his order, Little Timmy gets to grab a damn shovel and gets to work.
Worried about losing jobs? Nope! The janitor will still have a job but he will have a different title. He will be a manager and will manage the students as they learn what cleaning a toilet is like. You think your kid is too good to clean a toilet? Too bad! Every student has to work in every department.
Well Cam, how will the children learn science? Oh luckily, there are clouds and insects and dirt and owl pellets and frogs outside in the farm area.
Students will also work the shipping department and figure out ways to cut cost to run a business efficiently.
We will not leave special education students out. Since you will be graded on ability and capability not disability, there will be some sort of job for them as well.
Each department will have ranking jobs. The higher the grade of the student, the better of a job they will receive in that department. Miss too many days and you don’t get promoted. No 7th grade with a 6th grader as their superior. This will ensure hard work. This will also integrate students of different ages.
“Social studies” studies society. Why must we force incorrect, biased bar trivia down our children’s throats?. Each department of the school is a part of a puzzle. This ensures students that would never interact otherwise, work together. This is actual social studying and teamwork.
You are graded like you’re judged in court, by a jury of your peers anonymously. Of course, the teacher will have the final say but this forces fake smiles and salutations with peers. You know, how you just hate the way Susan from HR chews her gum? Yeah, you have to tolerate her. That’s the real world.
This format of a school will not only teach students real life experience, hard work, teamwork, personal accountability, work etiquette but it will yield profit and produce. The students will have produce for breakfast and lunch, cutting budget cost. The extra produce can be sold to local welfare supported programs for a cheaper price, bringing a smaller cost for food healthier organic foods. The left over money will back to the school to buy better farming equipment allowing them to yield more crops the next year.
How great would it be to see kids experience real world experiences by living it. How great would it be for school rivalries be on who grew the most crops to better their neighborhood. In a perfect world, students will also engage in X amount of hours of community service to graduate by helping shelters, retirement communities, animal shelters and any other group needed help. We can ingrain students with compassion from an early age.
We complain about a better world. Lets do more than just tweet about it.
I would love to hear your opinions and feedback in the comments section!