Thursday, June 02, 2011 7:29 AM
A Visit to the School Garden at Ak Lu'um Waldorf School
The teachers and students at Ak Lu'um Waldorf School in Playa del Carmen have been working hard on their bio-dynamic garden beds and are starting to see the fruits of their labors. The heirloom tomatoes are ripening on the vines and the peppers and squash plants are covered with blossoms that will soon transform into bright colorful vegetables.
We have been bone dry for two months and the recent rains have been a godsend to all things green. The sudden rise in moisture in the soil has caused some splitting in the thinner skinned tomatoes but other than that, the plants are thriving. You can almost hear them saying "thank you!". (That's a little anthroposophic humor for you Waldorf folks). The papaya and banana trees that surround the school are all reaching for the sun and laden with fruit.
The garden beds are all raised, a necessary design choice when trying to cultivate anything in this region as chiseling holes into the limestone shelf of the Yucatan is not a reasonable undertaking for any reasonable person. The beds are supported by rocks or bits of lengths of discarded wood and filled with good rich soil "created" at the school with small amounts of dirt mixed with compost and other organic materials. More beds will be made as soil becomes ready. Crops will be rotated so as to not completely deplete the beds of nutrients. Empty beds are easily amended with an influx of compost from the school's kitchen and contributions from parents. The pre-schoolers tend the garden as part of their daily routine, keeping it free of weeds. Plans are in the works for a spiral herb garden filled with culinary and medicinal plants. The local basil which grows here like a bush is already thriving!
As hectic as modern life gets, a nice walk through the jungle paths and a trip to the garden at Ak Lu'um never fails to sooth the soul. How fortunate that our children spend their days here in this oasis of tranquility.
Ak Lu’um International School is
a not for profit Waldorf Initiative
founded in 2006 in the jungle close to Playa del Carmen. The school’s mission
is to educate, promote sustainability, develop ecological awareness and
encourage children from 2 to 12 to reconnect with our earth. Students at Ak
Lu’um learn with their minds, hearts and hands. The curriculum is academically
challenging and meaningful with many opportunities for hands-on learning and
artistic development. Ak Lu’um welcomes children with special needs and seeks
to integrate them fully, giving all children an opportunity to better know,
understand and love their fellow human beings. The community at Ak Lu’um
International School is bilingual (English-Spanish) and culturally rich with
over 10 nationalities represented by staff and pupils.