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July 14, 2017 / Rick Swann

Garden Educators

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Philip Lee at the National Children and Youth Garden Symposium

Philip and I did a keynote by committee yesterday in Vancouver, WA. Here’s the poem I read to honor all those people who work with kids in the garden!


The Garden Educator


Harvest for a class-sized salad.

We wash the greens

and serve them

in compostable bowls.

Lots of yums, until Yoko

finds a grub: drowned,

of course, and tangled

in the curly kale.

Note to self: closely pick

over future feasts;

switch to dino kale.



Kindergarten class.

One parent volunteer

is sick, the other

brings her toddler.

The toddler eats some dirt.

Aiden thinks that’s funny.

He also grabs a bite.

Then Jay and Lloyd.

And not to be outdone by boys,

Makayla eats some, too.


Spring-time food bank harvest

with the fifth-grade leadership team.

Nella asks, “How come

no one’s picking this?”

“It’s sorrel, most think

it tastes too sour.”

“Dare you!”  Riley yells.

Students sample sorrel,

mustard, oregano,

mizuna and purslane.

Today I end up teaching

antioxidant feasting!


Last day of school,

the kids stream out.

So many give you hugs.

They zoom across the playground

the parents trail behind

to visit a garden in bloom.

Kids say it was

their favorite class

and parents smile and add,

“I can’t believe my child

loves chard and actually

eats her peas.”


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