Becca Self Turns Seedleaf Gardens Into Teaching Places

Becca Self, Education Director, Seedleaf, Inc., Lexington, Kentucky

Becca Self, Education Director, Seedleaf, Inc., Lexington, Kentucky

Some people have a teaching gene. That gene skipped me, in spite of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and a niece who answered the call to teach. I grew up so steeped in talk about great teaching that I think I know it when I see it.

Certainly I see it whenever I see Becca Self at work. Becca serves as Education Director for Seedleaf, Inc. Yesterday I took photos in the London Ferrell Community Garden, which Seedleaf supports, as Becca introduced a work team of UK students to Seedleaf's work and to the Garden.

I got glimpses of Becca's teaching gift earlier when I observed and wrote about students at Montessori Middle School of Kentucky who researched, prepared, and presented a case to their school board members for building a green school building and making full use of grounds for environmental teaching and learning. Becca taught at MMSK for five years, initiating a land-based, experiential science curriculum that engaged students in beekeeping, gardening, stream studies, composting, construction, and much more. I spent a happy morning with MMSK students on the 12 acres they had studied. The students taught, guided, and demonstrated their command of the many forms of natural science all around them.

Becca is now in her second year of guiding Seedleaf's education work and carrying out many other Seedleaf duties, as one would expect with a thriving, tiny, much appreciated nonprofit organization. Her sunny, smart, kind presence at Seedleaf signifies to me that our community's fortunes continue to be rich, and that we are finding new ways to work on securing a healthy future for all who live here. Really, Becca's investment in Lexington, given the opportunities her abilities and education afford her, gives me the greatest possible hope.

I got to film a bit of video as Becca and Seedleaf director Ryan Koch worked with a group of volunteers one evening, making soup from Seedleaf gardens and from the fresh vegetables people had brought from their own gardens. Becca tells a 90-second story about working with 25 middle school students, creating a game that enticed them to try eating raw vegetables. Email subscribers: here's the link.

Tiffany Thompson, Seedleaf's new Americorps Vista gem, explained to the UK students yesterday that Seedleaf, with its 12 gardens in 2010, does not intend to feed Lexington. Instead, it intends to show Lexingtonians how we can feed ourselves. Tiffany said the London Ferrell Garden is a place where people can see peppers on pepper plants and think, "Oh. They grow here. I could be growing peppers." So Seedleaf's gardens are, to some extent, teaching gardens. And Becca Self's teaching gift is helping Seedleafers put their amazing gardens to use to get us all ready to be more resilient, more self-reliant, and more secure by growing, cooking, preserving, and composting our own good. I am grateful to Becca and to Seedleaf every day.

You don't get Savoring Kentucky posts by email, but you would like to, free? Here is our 110 percent no spam guarantee and email subscription information.

The world is coming to visit central Kentucky this year for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. To help our visitors know more about Kentucky's food and food ways, Savoring Kentucky is rolling out 116 Savory Kentucky Bites, one for each of the 100 days before WEG begins, and 16 for the days during WEG, September 25 - October 10. Today's Savory Bite is number 113.