The Magic of Sacred Seeds

Written By: 
Drew Gradinger

I walk into a classroom to witness a discussion between a teacher and 9 students. They are talking about Sacred Seeds and I have come in the middle of their conversation.  I hear them defining the word sacred and making a plan to study seeds. I had to look up the word myself.  "sa·cred: regarded with reverence."   As I read the definition I have a sense of pride to be working at a school discussing a project that connects science to the ideas of reverence for seeds and plant ecosystems.

Sacred Seeds is a network of sanctuaries that preserve biodiversity and plant knowledge.  And we, at Kindle Farm, are one of thirteen foundational gardens that contain locally important plants for medicinal uses (our pharmacy), food (our grocery), and craft value (our hardware store).

Kindle Farm has just finished phase one of our Sacred Seeds garden.  A beautifully designed archway leads into a circular garden that is planted with 18 species of plants.  Plants the students have researched and are native to the area; plants that were used by local people; plants they have purchased; plants they have tended.

Now we have a living classroom in which to study ...

There is evidence that the Sacred Seeds garden is cross pollinating (pun intended) across our programming. As one science class looks at the magic of seeds and germination, another explores the variables that affect growth. A social studies class takes a field trip to explore the journals of the Colonists and examines the historical uses of plants in their garden. The carpentry class has makes a kiosk to display school and garden information while math class helps us figure out the square feet of our circle beds! Our Multiage Class teacher just wrote this in a school bulletin:

"As students grow their observation, questioning and recording skills in science, they have been exploring the world of plants this quarter.  The school's fruit trees and Sacred Seeds Garden have both become an onsite laboratory for using the senses as well as scientific tools like hand lenses and microscopes.  Through this work students are learning to be careful scientists alongside content knowledge connected to cellular biology."

Ahh, that is music to my ears!

We owe special thanks to Missouri Botanical Society, NewChapter Organics and the folks at Genus Loci for supporting this project and providing an amazing amount of resources, technical assistance and vision.

As Fall of 2011 sets in on the Farm and we look back at a year's worth of effort and accomplishment, it is clear we have learned a great deal and built something beautiful and profound. 

We are in process of discovery -- How does our school utilize this vast resource?  How does it fit in our curricula over time?  Are there more phases?  Who creates the self-guided tour?  As with so much in learning, there is no end; there is simply exploration and anticipation for what comes next.  Stay tuned . . . .

For more information about this international project please visit: http://www.sacredseedsanctuary.org/