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Blog: Thursday, November 24th, 2022

Our Three Sisters Soup

What better way to kick off a chilly fall season than with a hearty bowl of soup? At Chief Dan George Middle School, we have worked hard on our garden beds and greenhouse space this past spring and fall. Last May, our students planted a Three Sisters Garden - the traditional indigenous practice of planting maize, squash, and bean plants. Upon our return in September, the fruits of our labour were ready to be harvested.

Mr. Poehlke’s class learned about the Iroquois Legend of The Three Sisters and how though each was different, they ultimately relied on each other’s differences to grow. The Iroquois people believed that this planting technique was reflective of their way of life and represented how we should work together to learn and grow. The Three Sisters each played a role in sustaining one another. The strong stalk of the corn supports the beans as they grow upward. The squash’s big leaves keep weeds from growing, and the shade keeps the ground moist with morning dew. The beans fix nitrogen from the air and put it in the soil to feed her sisters. This connection between the plants allows the garden to grow strong and healthy.

Once the crops had matured, students harvested the vegetables and prepared them for the soup. As they chopped, minced, and diced the vegetables, they participated in a class discussion about the life cycle of the vegetables and other organisms involved in the process. The corn was food for aphids, which in turn are food for natural pest-controlling predators such as wasps and ladybugs. The vegetables themselves worked together once more to become nourishment for the students. The carbohydrates in the corn, fibre and proteins in the beans, and vitamins in the squash combine to create a nutrition powerhouse.

The beauty of incorporating agriculture in our classrooms is that students have a tangible example of growing and harvesting food for themselves and an appreciation for how much time and attention it takes to grow enough food in just one pot of soup. Our students walked away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of food supply which opened the doors for discussing topics relevant to planning for tomorrow, such as food scarcity. We hope that as our students progress through their education, they will also use their strengths to support their peers and work together to create something special (and delicious!).

MELANIE TRUDEAU, VICE-PRINCIPAL
Chief Dan George Middle