At BE Designs we are excited about our new Pop Up Garden Program we’ve designed for schools to teach students about living sustainably.
The program uses a garden made from waste materials as an interactive tool to teach students ways to combat some of our fundamental issues we currently face in the world. The program focuses on solutions to ensure we are better at:
- Minimising Waste
- Growing our Own Food
- Managing our Health & Wellbeing
- Creating Products through Cradle to Cradle Design (re-thinking the way we make things)
Since the 1950’s we have become a society where shopping is encouraged as pass time. As a result, our need for ‘stuff’ is depleting our finite resources, destroying the environment and detrimentally impacting the people living in these communities, our communities. Then at the end of the product’s life, which is often extremely short lived because it is ‘disposable‘, we throw it away. Here’s the newsflash, there is NO AWAY. We are running out of space to dig more holes to dispose of our waste.
Convenience means we have evolved into a species that will use disposable products over re-using anytime. Who can blame us, convenience is necessary for our very busy lives but we are now paying the price so it must change. Check out how Bill Gates simply explains how climate change has happened and how we can fix it.
The Pop Up Garden Program teaches students that a great deal of the waste we produce is a resource to be reused, recycled or up cycled. It also demonstrates how a garden is a wonderful onsite waste management system. Through composting food and garden waste it can then be turned back into the existing soil, building a healthy source to grow highly nutritional organic food.
Growing your own vegetables and fruit is not a new phenomena. I’m in my 40’s and I grew up with a large vegetable patch and fruit trees in the backyard. Today this is not the case for many children – it takes time and we suffer from this new epidemic called ‘busy’. Our food, how it is grown and where it comes from has not been a concern to us because we’ve had the convenience of going to the local supermarket where we can access everything we need. But today there is too much unknown about how this food has been produced, what chemicals have been involved in the process, how little the farmer who grew it was paid and how many travel miles it covered to be there for our convenience.
Getting back control over what we eat is not only critical to our health but also to the health of our communities and the environment.
The next concept the program explores is how being outdoors and toiling the soil is essential to our health and wellbeing. Since the industrial revolution we have been drawn from the fields to the cities for work. With this came less time spent outdoors and more time spent in artificial environments with little exposure to fresh air, sunlight, regular movement and plants. During this relatively short period of time (approximately 200 years) we’ve seen the emergence of obesity, diabetes and mental health issues which is having a terrible impact on our society.
Spending time in the great outdoors has many proven benefits including reducing our levels of stress, minimising our levels of depression through inducing more positive feelings and generally makes us more active. The program demonstrates to students that they can easily manage their resilience and wellbeing by being outside in the garden, being mindful and spending time together.
Finally, the program plants the seed (pardon the pun) about how we need to rethink how we make things. Cradle to Cradle Design focuses on designing products with consideration of what raw materials will be used and how they will be accessed. The aim is to ensure that it doesn’t impact the environment and local communities detrimentally. It also considers what will happen to the product at the end of its lifecycle – can it be returned to the soil where food can be grown safely or can it be reused over and over again? The students get the opportunity to use this thinking to design their own products whilst they are in the garden as being out in nature also enhances creativity.
Currently the Program is running at Great Western Primary School where the students so far are giving it the ‘green thumbs’ up!
Until next time…..