Learning to grow paradise from a seed

The feeling you get when you see people falling in love with farming and becoming one with nature is divine!

Zahra Ali August 01, 2010
Vacations are coming to an end and that means another year of productive farming can begin!

Teaching gardening to young people is rewarding on many levels.The best part is that you get paid to practice your hobby.

I can proudly say that I belong to a team that are the pioneers of teaching gardening at the school level. It was the combined effort of Ms Sabrina Dawood and Mr Tofiq Pasha Mooraj to introduce gardening as a subject and to spread the awareness about the environment.  For me, it was a dream come true! Dawood Public School took this initiative last year in July, and now we are beginning our second year.

Teaching more than 800 students who belonged to grade 1-8 has taught me many lessons. The most important one is that a love of nature is in every heart - all we need to do is make children realize that there is nothing more human than being close to nature. The other lesson was that a love of nature is contagious!

When my students started planting crops in their pots, everyone was amazed to see the results and soon, farming fever began to  spread. Management, teachers, parents and domestics all fell in love with gardening activities and passionately participated as well. Guests who visited us couldn't stop themselves from jumping into the vegetable patch! They couldn't resist touching our dazzling eggplants and tasting our tomatoes. The feeling you get when you see people falling in love with farming and becoming one with nature is divine!

I still remember the day I entered the school and saw my students watering their pots before the assembly and later saw them having lunch beside their pots. They did not want their plants to be out of their sight! It filled my heart with an unexplainable joy. At one point other teachers started to hate me because students were always thinking and talking about their plants. They were concerned if they sprouted or not. After each class they wanted to run to the windowsill to see their progress. Eventually, even those teachers got addicted to gardening.

Now I am beginning to miss my students and their repeated questions, " Ma'am, when will my seed sprout?" " Can I take my plant home for the weekend, please?" " Ma'am! There is one more leaf in my basil plant!" That is the best reward a teacher can get.

I can already foresee my students making their gardens beautiful and taking care of the environment long after they will leave the school. I am glad they are coming back.

This morning was spent preparing the gardens for them. We weeded a vegetable patch and have arranged their pots. Now we are all ready to welcome our young gardeners!
Zahra Ali A freelance writer, gardening teacher and environmentalist. She has been spreading the message of natural living through her blog 'Crops in Pots' since 2008
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.