The Teacher Who Teaches Gardening

Atlantic Monthly article, “Cultivating Failure,” disses school gardens

The January/February issue of the Atlantic Monthly has an article entitled “Cultivating Failure,” criticizing Alice Waters’ gardening class in a California school. It uses as its opening example a fictional immigrant farm worker whose child is “forced” to work the garden rather than study useful things like “Emerson and Euclid.” As if the migrant worker’s “farm” experience has anything to do with actual farming!

I completely disagree. In my opinion, Alice Waters could be viewed as a hero, maybe even a superhero. By teaching her students a dying art form on how to grow food. I believe it is logical to think those children are excited to get out of those chairs and be able to move around. I think they are glad to breathe some fresh air. I can imagine how excited they were to see the seeds spouting out of the ground. I think they children could get competiteve in a positive way with who will have the largest vegetable. And who will have the most vegetables to harvest. They may have starting doing kartwheels of joy when the plants are ready for harvest. Every caring parent would serve those vegtables up with praise and pride at the dinner table. Not to mention, all the dinner conversations the family could share during the growing process. Which is a perfect opportunity for the parents to teach healthy eating choices. America does have a childhood obesity problem. Alice Waters is enriching those school children’s lives by gardening with them. She is building a work ethnic and a solid sense of accomplishment with her lesson plans. And she very well may be easing the mental discomfort of her students who have had food security issues. It is very possible,those children would start to feel capable of solving their hunger problem. I commend Alice Waters for being a caring, creative teacher.