At Desert Marigold gardening classes begin in 6th grade and carry on through high school. Students are introduced to our three acre biodynamic garden as well as to the practice of gardening in a simple manner; they begin working the soil, building compost, and planting, as well as benefiting and participating in the harvest. The students further their involvement through food preparation and organizing a small market on campus as well as off-site at local farmers markets. Repeating the work over the years gives them insight into the spirit of plants and crop rotation. When, during summer months, outdoor work becomes difficult within the classroom setting, the students participate in the planning and preparation of the soon to come growing seasons. They will learn and discuss proper tool use and care and spend time becoming familiar with the subtle seasonal changes that occur here in Phoenix.
Working in the biodynamic garden provides an opportunity to develop an innate, harmonious sense of being at home on this Earth. It gives the children living examples of many of their class studies; in the garden their lessons can become practical, daily experiences. Through their work, the children each feel the contribution they make to the garden as a link in a long chain of others’ contributions and work. They experience first- hand “that people always depend on the work of their fellow human beings” (Steiner). They learn to work for the love of work, for others and for the sake of the whole rather than for personal gain. This gives them a basis for building true community. Other gardening themes include nature observation, development of home gardening skills and craft skills.