You Can Grow Free Food

Scripture: Mark 4:21-32, Luke 8:16-32, Matthew 13:31-32

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the parables of the seeds, lamp and mustard seed.
  • Students will learn how to select and plant low-labor high-yield crops for a self-sustaining garden.
  • Students will participate in starting a self-sustaining garden to benefit people who do not have enough food to eat.

Guiding Question: How can we serve others who are hungry by teaching them to plant self-sustaining crops?

Materials: seeds from crops that thrive in your climate, soil, water, small cups, paper and pens for writing instructions

Review the parables of the lamp, seed and mustard seed. Focus especially on how the mustard seed was bountiful despite its tiny size. Explain that seeds can represent hope. Seeds grow to produce crops and are much cheaper than buying the produce. Discuss how a lack of food is problematic for people in poverty. Buying food can be expensive. However, seeds are cheaper and once they are planted they continue to provide food with proper care. If you do it yourself, you do not have to rely on a market. Brainstorm with students a list of plants that grow in your climate. Note: GMO’s do not reproduce.

Here is a list of high yield, low care foods:
• Tomatoes – high yield,
• Grain corn- high yield
• Pinto beans- climates with hot days, low humidity, cool nights.
• Winter Squash
• Potatoes (sweet, russet, red)- energy dense, can be stored a long time without refrigeration
• Pumpkin- easily reproduces from seeds
• Collards and kale- winter crops that can be cut and re-grow

Here are some websites for tips:
http://www.sustainabletable.org/249/sustainable-crop-production

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/garden-planning/staple-crops-zm0z13jjzsto.aspx?PageId=1

Demonstrate for students how to plant their seeds with soil and water in a small cup so the plant has a good beginning. Discuss how it will grow and will need to be replanted in a garden or larger pot.
Ideas for places to take their seeds/plants:
• They can plant a garden at a local school for classes to use for education
• They can plant a garden at a local neighborhood. Even some inner city neighborhoods may even have a small green space to use.
• Local church
• A family in need of food
• They can make their own garden at home or at their home church, tend the plants, and then give the crops to people in need.

Have older students write/type step-by-step instructions for how to care for the plant once they give it to the person in need. Discuss plant needs: air, space, soil, sunlight, water. They can draw or print out diagrams.

Additional Questions:

  • What are GMO’s and why can we not plant them?

Supplemental Activity: Take students to one of the suggested sites that can benefit from a self-sustaining garden. Have students share what they have learned with the kids there and teach them how to care for their plants in-person.