Nick and Roberto attend McAuliffe Elementary School, which is located in the city’s Hermosa neighborhood. Nick is a 6th grader, and Roberto a 7th grader. Both are fond of their time in the Learning Garden.
Nick is a diverse learner – he has developmental delays that affect his ability to learn. Though he can speak, he is nonverbal in the classroom. Like other diverse learners, Nick finds a lot of solace in the Learning Garden. It’s not an intimidating space for him.
Roberto, a year older, is very different from Nick. He is very scholarly, very popular and very athletic. His teacher calls him awesome. Neither the Learning Garden nor any part of the school is an intimidating space for Roberto.
The boys met when they both became part of the agriculture team that cares for the Learning Garden. The way that they interact with other can give you goosebumps.
Nick – non-verbal in the classroom, you remember – enters the garden, filled with conversation for Roberto and the chickens. Roberto, agile and athletic, aerates the garden’s soil so that his friend Nick can dig in and find for worms to feed the chickens.
They work together. They joke with one another, using sarcasm to get the best of each another. They are genuine friends.
Their teacher told us “without the Learning Garden, this connection would not have happened.”
Sometimes, community through food is really about two kids bonding over soil, worms and chickens. It’s about each bringing out the best in the other while they learn about growing healthy food.