Category Archives: Education


The Educator’s Spin On It – By Amanda Boyarshinov Posted March 24, 2019

Now is the time to learn about what are the BEST Vegetables to Grow with Kids this year in your garden. We are excited to share with you the our top picks of vegetables for gardening with kids.

Becky of Kid World citizen, master teacher, talented writer and expert in Global Education is our guest writer today. She has a fabulous backyard garden and her kids are willing to try new vegetables for dinner because of it.


By Becky, author of Kids World Citizen

It’s just about that time of year to end this miserable cold (finally) and start enjoying spring weather and thinking about  what vegetables to grow with kids in our gardens! Gardening is the ideal outdoor learning experience: playing in the mud, learning about underground ecosystems, watching our plants grow with sunlight and rain and some tender care, and getting the gratification of growing a food that we can eat at the end of the process (and maybe even trying something new!). If you’d like to get your kids more involved this year, here are our best veggies to grow with kids.


1. Radishes

2. Baby Carrots

3. Lettuce

Kids want it, and want it NOW! All of these choices will germinate from seed in just days when you add water and sunlight, giving kids a chance to see how crooked or straight their seed lines were! What about spreading the seeds in the form of their initial? What’s great about these three choices is that you can pick and eat them while they are still young, shortening growing time even more.


1. Cherry tomatoes

2. Snap Peas

3. Herbs (try mint, lemon balm, parsley, or chives)

One of the best part of gardening is being able to eat raw veggies straight from the plant. To be honest, I don’t remember ever being able to pick enough snap peas to actually make them because my kids eat the entire harvest from the vine before I even get to snap a picture. Cherry tomatoes are a given, because varieties nowadays produce fruit the entire growing season (65-85 F during the day, and nights should be above 55). As for herbs, mint grows, and grows, and if you’re not careful it can take over your herb garden! That being said my kids think it’s cool that they can walk by and grab a leaf to eat. If your kids don’t like mint, try parsley or chives, or even lemon balm for a sensory blast every time you walk past it.


1. Potatoes

2. Asparagus

3. Green beans

If you are looking for the absolute easiest to grow- meaning you forget that you even have a garden- look no further. My green beans have been re-seeding themselves for years and grow like a jungle with little care. Asparagus sounds challenging, but it is incredibly simple. From the snowy Midwest to tropical Houston, plant it once, and it will grow in the same spot every growing season for 20 years! Potatoes are so easy it is almost a joke. I once sent my 5 year old out to the garden with a container of forgotten purple potatoes from Whole Foods that had gone bad, forgotten in the back of our pantry. I told Ricky to plant them and I honestly forgot he had done so for a couple of months. We went out to prepare our garden in the spring and found the ground peppered with TONS of purple potatoes that had grown during our mild winter!



The Educator’s Spin On It – By Amanda Boyarshinov Posted Mar 24, 2019

In this twist on the classic germination science experiment, children will test the germination rate of 10 green bean seeds. From making predictions to collecting data, your little scientists will learn all about seeds and how plants grow.

Let’s get started with this germination of seeds activity! 



Prior to the germination science experiment read seed books and talk about seeds.

Introduce the word GERMINATION.  Germination is when the seed begins to grow a root and a shoot. This experiment will allow children to see how and how many seeds germinate.  The plastic bag acts as a window into the world of plant growth!

  1. Fold the paper towel so it will fit neatly inside the plastic bag.
  2. Using a black permanent marker, draw a 10 frame on the bag.
  3. Fill the spray bottle with water and let children mist the paper towel until it is completely moist.
  4. Place the wet paper towel in the bag.
  5. Have the children place one been seed in each compartment in the 10 frame.
  6. Close the bag and set flat near window or other sunny area. (the bag can be taped to a window, but the seeds do not stay in the 10 frame well!)


Do you think that all 10 bean seeds will germinate? Explain your answer.


  • Write a prediction on how many bean seeds you believe will germinate.  You many guess numbers between 0 and 10. After plants have germinated check your predictions.  Discuss the results.
  • Can you figure out the percentage or germination rate of your bean seeds?  Take the number of bean seeds in your bag that germinated.  Use a calculator and times that number by 10.  If 8 seeds germinated, you would take 8 x 10 = 80.  Your seeds would have an 80% germination rate.

Why do you think knowing a seeds germination rate would be helpful to a farmer?

NOTE: Bean seeds germinated in this way “may” grow if you place them in a soil garden area shortly after germination begins. Often teachers will allow the bean plants to continue growing until leaves form so that students can see the plants growing.


Germination:  when the seed begins to grow a root and a shoot.

Root:  Part of the plant beneath the soil that absorbs water and nutrients.

Sprout: the beginning growth of a plant

Sprouting: the practice of germinating seeds

We all know that plants need water, sun, and soil to grow. In this science experiment, kids will grow a bean maze to truly “see” how plants will seek out what they need.


Farming While Black: An Interview with Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman

Garden Therapy – Nov 18, 2018 – INTERVIEW· SOUL FIRE FARM

Gardening is therapy to so many of us and yet there is ecology and politics behind growing food that limits that opportunity for far too many people. Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm and author of the just released book Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land is working to change that. Soul Fire Farm is an organization designed to uplift and empower farmers of color through practical skills and fostering a connection to the earth.

We have been fans of Soul Fire Farm on social media where they share snippets of stories, politics, and culture like this fascinating video about the Afro-Indigenous roots of many common vegetables that we normally think of as having European origins. When Farming While Black was announced, we immediately approached them to ask for an interview. Just a brief conversation with Leah Penniman covered a lot of complex issues including race, an oppressive food system, and the writing process.

Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture. But you will quickly see that it is also so much more. A practical farming guide, a memoir, and history book intertwined on the pages, Farming While Black is a must read for everyone who loves plants and the healing benefits of working in the soil.

In Conversation with Leah Penniman

Garden Therapy: First, for our readers who don’t know, can you tell me a little about Soul Fire Farm and its mission?

Leah Penniman: Soul Fire Farm is a people-of-color-led community farm in Grafton, New York. We are committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system and we do that in three ways.

Read on…


Why Farming Is Broken (And Always Has Been) (4 min)

MinuteEarth – Sep 27, 2017 – 4 min

Thanks to the Land Institute for sponsoring this video!


To learn more about their work, visit To feed everyone in the future, we may need to disrupt 10,000 years of farming practices and turn agriculture into a closed system. Thanks also to our supporters on

To learn more, start your googling with these keywords: Annual plant: living for a year or less, perpetuating itself by seed Perennial plant: living for several years Polyculture: the simultaneous cultivation or exploitation of several crops or kinds of animals Natural systems agriculture: cropping systems based on processes found in nature Agroforestry: land use management that combines the cultivation of trees/shrubs with crops/pasture to create more productive and sustainable land-use systems Alley cropping: planting agricultural crops between rows of trees or shrubs.

If you liked this week’s video, you might also like: Alley cropping:… Agroforestry:…

Regenerative Agriculture Podcast

The Regenerative Agriculture Podcast, hosted by John Kempf, is a great show to start with. Here are some of the show’s episode titles to whet your appetite:

  • Preventing nitrogen and phosphorus leaching.
  • Things to do when plants don’t respond to nutrient applications.
  • Why should we care about soil health?
  • Symbiotic relationships in ecology.
  • How insect pests identify unhealthy plants.

You might be wondering, do I need to be tech-savvy to listen to a podcast? Absolutely not! Here’s an easy guide on how to access podcasts:

  1. Install the “Stitcher” app from iTunes App Store or Google Play (Android).
  2. Register on the Stitcher app.
  3. Browse shows and “star” your favorites to automatically download new episodes.
  4. Listen to shows through the Stitcher app on headphones, or even better, via Bluetooth over your car’s audio system.


Agroecology and the fight against deadly capitalist agriculture

Climate and Capitalism, June 17, 2018 by Colin Todhunter

Agroecology can free farmers from dependency, manipulated commodity markets, unfair subsidies and food insecurity. It is resisted by giant corporations that profit from the status quo.

Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India. This article was originally published as “Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset,” on his blog, East by Northwest. Colin invites readers to follow him on Twitter.

Food and agriculture across the world is in crisis. Food is becoming denutrified and unhealthy and diets less diverse. There is a loss of biodiversity, which threatens food security, soils are being degraded, water sources polluted and depleted and smallholder farmers, so vital to global food production, are being squeezed off their land and out of farming.

A minority of the global population has access to so much food than it can afford to waste much of it, while food insecurity has become a fact of life for hundreds of millions. This crisis stems from food and agriculture being wedded to power structures that serve the interests of the powerful global agribusiness corporations.

Over the last 60 years, agriculture has become increasingly industrialised, globalised and tied to an international system of trade based on export-oriented mono-cropping, commodity production for the international market, indebtedness to international financial institutions (IMF/World Bank).

This has resulted in food surplus and food deficit areas, of which the latter have become dependent on (US) agricultural imports and strings-attached aid. Food deficits in the Global South mirror food surpluses in the North, based on a ‘stuffed and starved’ strategy.

Whether through IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programmes related to debt repayment as occurred in Africa (as a continent Africa has been transformed from a net exporter to a net importer of food), bilateral trade agreements like NAFTA and its impact on Mexico or, more generally, deregulated global trade rules, the outcome has been similar: the devastation of traditional, indigenous agriculture.