I spent a couple of hours the other morning planting vegetable seedlings with kids at the school garden. It was one of those days, with the sun shining, parents, teachers and kids working together, when you feel good about the world. The kids were excited to plant the seedlings they’ve grown from seed in little newspaper pots that they made, closing their eyes and blowing good wishes to their cucumbers and peppers and tomatoes to grow big and strong. Thanks to the attention of their teachers, most of the kids knew quite a bit about what they were planting and what will go into ensuring we see healthy and delicious organic veggies emerge from our plot.
But even with this unmitigated good vibe—actually because of it— I couldn’t help thinking about the cynical move of a new organization purporting to create a new Canadian School Garden Network, while actually working in the interest of fertilizer companies. Nutrients for Life (N4L) is a charitable organization connected to the Canadian Fertilizer Institute that has created a website “network” with resources and curriculum links for teachers and schools interested in school gardening.