2015年 09月 23日
in 愛の村パーク 彩の間
2008年 11月 27日
What a busy autumn we have been galloping through my dear friends. I must bag for your pardon for only writing only now to you!
As a gardener I need to slow down very often and meditate on new projects and how the vegetables are growing. People generally reckon that agriculture is just about producing food for the hungry mouths. But clearly this should not be the case!
Today I took a closer look at the veggies we offer this year 2008. I also compared to last year’s veggie list and I found out that in turn we grow completely different plants this autumn. Last year we had plenty types of turnips and carrots. This year I simplified these plants, mainly sticking to two-three favourites. The philosophy has changed, special vegetable colours of the past years are not important anymore. I mainly concentrate on improving the taste, which is now my addictive yardstick! Instead of the colours I tried out some old kind veggies of parsnips, burdock, sorrel and so on. There is also a range of herbs which I could rediscover from childhood memories, such as lovage and ruta.
This season we are preparing for the Christmas and New Year season, which is looking to be very busy. Already some restaurants order veggies for end of the year parties and the weather is still mild to allow sowing some winter brassicas such as komatsuna or small radish. Next time I am going to update about a sensational old book which I came across recently written about the world food situation up till 1952!
I trust that all you are having a grand chill-down after the madness of July and early August heat waves. Personally, I have been enjoying the cool nights and so the vegetables. The weather has turned rather autumnish and my brain can begin to function again. In this passing humid and hot summer it was simply impossible, every evening like I felt so exhausted that my body rang the bells to go to bed as soon I finished with the supper!
Anyway, these days I am setting up the schedule for the autumn course called GROWING YOUR OWN VEGETABLES, which I am going to run for people who have been interested in setting up home-scale gardens from the size of a terrace to a larger allotment. The main idea behind this course is that sustainable agriculture is an infinitely involving activity where every actor should be able to take a stake in learning and doing things alone or together! I am very glad that a number of brave ladies came to me and asked me about this study possibility!
There will be five lectures each takes one an-a-half hours according to the schedule. The five lecture set is jointly glued, which means there are logical paths from one to another. I am going to give activities to the students at place and for home preparation too. The lectures in no way will be similar to the Japanese standard classroom session (an extremely boring and exhaustingly repeatative).
I think that I was very lucky to experience of real learning. My home country’s educational system unfortunately matches the Japanese ‘study and remember hard for passing the exams with high points!’ slogan. When I went to England, I was shocked that there was no exam of the traditional method. The examiners were interested in my own ideas about a subject and required a unique and sound critical approach for analysing the problems. Yes, the real studies are concerned with PROBLEMS which partially and therefore temporarily should be solved! In Hungary or Japan the school books solve the problems for ourselves and this is why students become largely ignorant about the subject they ‘study’. The corpus of the English exam is the free style essay. The essay is an attempt to solve one or numerous problems continuously. We never can finally solve even one single problem, just do trial and error. The Japanese model thinks differently that we can do have fixed truth about studying, therefore misleads the students. The essay-writing also requires personal experience because it is a largely empirical account how one sees the problem/s bedded in his/her experienced life. Essays tend to be short and constructed in authentic fashion; each essay should show the individual imagination and interest (both missing in Japanese and Hungarian students) in the subject matter! If you read a good essay, the accent of writer ought to impress you, chiefly it should wake up your interest in the particular study! Just read few essays to taste the pleasure of studying for example from Charles Lamb, Lord Macaulay or Francis Bacon!
One of my favourite educators whom I have borrowed lots of ideas from is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He is the first man who put weight on the contextuality and personal learning. Modern radical constructivists, a sideline of constructivism school, borrowed a lot from Rousseau and I have been gaily reading them too. One of their main cultivators is Ernst von Glasersfeld, who has many free papers on the net, so please look up if you are interested!
The lectures will be conducted in such a free atmosphere between the classroom and the GG Farm fields and the surrounding woods (forests). I shall lead the team but the team will lead me too, because I want to find out what your ideas are about Nature, food, family heath and so on. I need to know what your customs are and the limited possibilities of growing tasty and healthy vegetables in the Japanese non-space environment. Learning materials are superfluously available for every student; books, drawing tools, microscope, camera, spades and so on.
The fun part of the lectures will be always there, since humour is necessary for cheerful and unforgettable memories which will set you off for your own vegetable growing projects at home. Your attempts might not suddenly yield nice tomatoes and radishes, but some weeds only. But do not be disappointed since even me when I started with veggies, often failed to grow anything! Even professional gardeners have sometimes failed seedlings or sowings! So just keep on being happy and try until the success will crown your trials!
「Let's grow your own vegetable!」
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