“If the quality of the soil isn’t good, we won’t be capable of cultivating healthy plants,” affirmed 12-year-old Ariel Artavia, an 8th grader at Mareas International Homeschool in Samara.
Ariel and his classmates are working on creating an organic garden. To that end, they went to collect soil down by Lagarto River and lugged it back in buckets to their garden plot, which is located in the back corner of Patio Colonial. They also received a donation of soil from a local business.
Together with teachers and volunteers, the children have made a compost and constructed a raised garden bed, using wood from broken pallets from the hardware store.
“The kids love getting their hands dirty and seeing results from their hard work,” observed teacher Brandon Park, who is overseeing the project. “Our goal is to educate the community on how to grow organic fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins and minerals, which all depends on the quality of our soil. If you don’t feed the soil, you can’t feed yourself,” he explained.
Working as a team, the children are learning lifelong skills, such as how to use tools and do carpentry, how to grow their own food, and how to build good relationships with the community.
The first phase of the project is focused on soil rehabilitation, for example adding organic matter and worms to the soil. They plan to build at least three garden beds and two composts. Other phases include germinating and sprouting seeds from a variety of vegetables and tropical fruits, transplanting the sprouts to the garden beds, weeding and caring for the plants so they can later harvest the crops and share the fruits of their labor.
Mareas is a private school that started in September 2012 and currently has around 40 students.