Calvert Street – The Food Chain

Hello Garden Friends!
This Friday at Calvert we talked about the food chain in two different ways! The first was a lesson about where our food comes from. We talked about production in the field, processing in warehouses (where the food is washed, packaged, and labeled), distribution, sales, and finally consumption. We talked about the heavy use of fossil fuels between each step in the production line and then had a discussion about simpler ways to get our product. It wasn’t long before the students came to the conclusion that growing food locally is the most energy efficient solution. Sometimes reducing the chain from 5 steps to 2! (production and consumption)

The second half of the lesson involved a game of ladybug-aphid-plant freeze tag. After seeing the predator and prey interactions between the mantis and caterpillar last week I thought I would reinforce the concept with a game. The students are first broken up into three teams; plants, aphids, and ladybugs. The role playing begins and I tell the students to imagine a dark night where all the plants and animals in the garden are asleep. The sun rises and the rays of light reflect beautifully through dewdrops that have condensed on the surface of leaves of the leaves. Sensing the light the plants wake up first and dance to the corners of the garden making sure that their feet stay in the boundaries of the space. Next, the aphids wake up and are ready for breakfast. I send them off in search of a nice plant to feed from. When an aphid tags a plant the plant freezes in place no longer able to use its sugars to grow. Next the Ladybugs, who slept in a little bit, are released in the garden to free the plants from the aphids. Unfreezing them and sending the aphids off in search of another meal. The round ends and the students switch roles. The lesson ends with a usual discussion about what was talked about earlier and my new intern Ryan and I scramble to try and fix our irrigation system and plant some seeds real quick.

Above you can see Ryan planting some snap peas. Pics of the young seedlings coming soon!
Until then, Grow on – Jeff Mailes