The Class 3 curriculum places particular focus on gardening throughout the year. Every week, Class 3P spends one morning, of our Main Lesson time, gardening with Nadia. Harvesting information and newly acquired knowledge from these sessions is then documented in each child’s 'Grow Garden Grow' Main Lesson book.
Every year, the Mullumbimby Farmer’s Market runs an event for local Primary Schools called Grow Your Own Lunchbox, in which the children harvest produce from their school garden, prepare a variety of dishes and then present these at the market as a nutritious school lunchbox. The children prepared several of their dishes in the school kitchen the day before the market and included pickles and preserves made over the last couple of months.
We served chicken and spinach quiche, Madagascar Bean salad, Brazilian turmeric rice, native raspberries, cherry tomatoes, beetroot relish, pickled lime and cassava cake. Yum!
It was a very interesting experience to think and work like farmers throughout this process. It’s not as easy as popping into the supermarket to buy produce - we had to rely on Mother Nature to provide the right conditions for our plants to grow and be ready for harvesting. We discovered that not everything works to a plan. We were hoping to harvest our wheat at the beginning of the term, but due to the wet weather, it was too damp to harvest so we could not make any bread or flour items for the market.
All the children were very proud of their creations. They were fortunate enough to receive two awards at the Market that celebrated their efforts: the Lunchbox Snack Award for their cassava cake with native raspberries, and the Abundant Native School Garden Award. We would like to thank Nadia for all her preparation and planning to ensure the produce was ready to harvest in time for this event.
Class 3 Teacher
Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition, drawn from the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Biodynamics has much in common with other organic methods, using manures and composts instead of artificial chemicals. However, according to the Biodynamic Association of North America, biodynamics is "not just a holistic agricultural system but also a potent movement for new thinking and practices in all aspects of life". Biodynamics informs much of the work that happens on our amazing 52 acre property in Mullumbimby.
One of the events that takes place each year, in partnership with Biodynamic Northern Rivers (BNR), is the preparation of horn manure, in which cow horns are filled with fresh cow manure and buried in a pit for the winter, to harvest the earth forces. These horns are then dug up in spring and the manure is diluted with water to make a potent soil activator known as 500. Every year, we spray 500 on the school grounds with the assistance of children, parents and staff. A thumbnail-sized piece is enough to treat one acre of land. How does it work? By encouraging soil microorganisms and helping build top soil. This is a very potent and inexpensive way to heal and fertilise the earth.
This Friday, March 23, all students from Preschool, Primary and High School are invited to join in with the filling of the horns and the singing of the songs. We also would like to extend this invitation to the wider Shearwater community, especially parents. If you don't want to get your hands dirty you are welcome to just come and watch.
Ideally horn manure burial would take place on an earth moon, in a waning phase (after full moon), with a descending aspect (returning to the southern hemisphere). This week's moon is in Taurus (an earth sign) and it will be descending but waxing. However the next earth moon will be too far into winter.
The burial will happen at the back of the School property, near the big Coolamon tree. Please bring a plate of food if you would like to help pack up and join BNR members for lunch at the Biodynamics Shed, on the School Farm, when you will also have an opportunity to become a BNR member.
To became a member of BNR call Mani on 66843304 to request a form. Membership is $24 per year and includes 20 grams of horn manure preparation and four seasonal newsletters plus the opportunity to join monthly biodynamic working bees on members' properties. The group also is looking for someone to manage their Facebook page. To buy preparations please email Uta Wight at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nadia de Souza Pietramale and Kaye Groves
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School