June bugs….

June 6, 2006

In case you did not already know, we have a new home for our 2006 Summer programs in Traverse City!

We are supporting Rolling Centuries Farm, and the Michigan Land Use Institute’s Farms to School program, by offering a creative season of growing food, puppet teach-ins, and breathing in fresh air at the Community Gardens on the Grand Traverse Commons Grounds.
Little Artshram piloted a two week Art-Farm Camp last year, and had a blast tending a garden plot, growing lots of pickles and flowers, hiking the Munson Trails, making bird puppets, building cob-bird-houses and picnicking under a beautiful maple tree. There were many adventures, too numerous to list. Anyways, we had so much fun, we’ve decided to do it again!

Now, we’re expanding the camps. This year’s program will focus on three age groups: Our Beehive program for 1st through 6th grades, the Art-Farm Ambassador program for 9-12 year olds (in the TCAPS district), and our Artist Apprentice and Mentoring program for Jr. And Sr. High students.

We believe that outdoor experiences, art-making, and food growing are wonderful and worthy activities for humans of all ages to practice on a daily basis. We are so thankful to learn more and more about sustainability through the practice of Permaculture, and to do so in our community with other like-minded organizations such as ISLAND, SEEDS, and the Michigan Land Use Institute.

The focus areas in our creative Art-Farm programming include: food, water, shelter and community. The curriculum follows the Permaculture practice of carefully studying natural patterns, cycles, and diversities, using the principles and ethics as a framework.

What in tarnation is permaculture? Glad you asked; here’s my simple explanation for adults: A design system that takes a good look at the world all around us, and is rooted in agriculture–yet expands to include a multitude of issues that can help us answer how we can ally ourselves with nature, instead of trying to control it. Doesn’t that sound basic and wise? Permaculture has a holistic set of ecological principals that help answer how we can provide, in the city, suburbia, or rural areas for our food, energy, shelter and other needs for an indefinite amount of time.

Why are we teaching Permaculture to kids? Glad you asked that too. The practice of care-taking our human family, care-taking the Earth and giving something back are the ethics that Permaculture is based upon and is at the heart of what we are presenting in these programs. We’ve been taking a good look around at the world we are immersed in––the world we are leaving to our children, and we believe that we would all benefit from learning yet a few more, important skills that will contribute to bringing our bodies/minds/hearts AND our planet into balance. We are not knuckle-dragging fatalists, but we are aware that there are many ecological crises in our dying systems that need to be addressed, intelligently and basically. Ultimately, we want to be of service to children and youth in a loving, caring, creative way.

And so, our summer begins with the Art-Farm curriculum blending art-making, organic gardening, natural building with cob, nature awareness and community gardening as the centerpiece. We will design and build a Welcome Garden with cob benches, herbs and flowers, and an Earth Oven; bake a few pizzas and loaves of bread; grow cucumbers, popcorn, pumpkins, tomatoes, beans, cut flowers and other crops in five garden plots. We plan to sing, dance, make puppets and hold fantastic, musical puppet teach-ins, and, YOU are most warmly invited to participate!

Stop by the Community Gardens this summer and visit us. Hope to see you soon!

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