Of all the oversimplifications of farming, the most memorable is a song that played in my elementary school cafeteria called, “Dirt Made My Lunch.” The tune, penned by the Banana Slug String Band, an ’80s childrens folk group, went:
Dirt made my lunch.
Thank you dirt, thanks a bunch,
For my salad, my sandwich
My milk and my munch ’cause
Dirt, you made my lunch.
Pretty simple stuff. The second verse did give farmers a brief nod for harvesting wheat into sandwich bread, but ultimately the particulars of their toil was minimized for maximum kindergarten understanding. But you know what? We did understand. To a room of rowdy children eating their midday meal, the sounds of that song in the background was the first inkling, albeit a subliminal one, that food didn’t just magically appear, that instead food had something to do with nature. Silly? Sure. Important? Absolutely. Some could argue it laid the groundwork for future educators to teach kids about the environment and healthy eating (and hopefully made a few bucks for those Banana Sluggers, who, incidentally, still tour).
Luckily, Earth science education has come a long way since late 1980s lunchroom sing-a-longs. In today’s Charleston, organizations like Bee Cause make a difference. The nonprofit bee initiative has placed more than 20 observational hives in schools across the Lowcountry and with each little student mesmerized by the tiny world within those honeycombs, the seeds of a future environmentalist, Eat Local activist, or, maybe even a farmer, are sowed. Learn more about what’s buzzing in local classrooms, in this brand new issue of Dirt. —Kinsey Gidick
On a cold day in March, I stand bundled up outside the birthing pen at Jeremiah Farm and Goat Dairy on Johns Island while goats of all sizes nuzzle and play in fresh shavings. Farmer Casey Price has invited me to take part in the kidding process that marks the beginning of milking season on her farm. — Nikki Seibert
The faint smell of honey permeates the air around the buzzing beehive. A little girl sits at the small table in the library of Sullivan's Island Elementary School, her face inches from thousands of bees as she watches them in their six specific roles... — Courtney Davis O'Leary
"You're sweet as a peach and twice as juicy." Growing up, that's what my grandmother would say to me whenever she scooped me into her Chloé-fragranced hug. — Kinsey Gidick
As I was sitting on my knees, carefully digging out weeds at the Dirt Works Incubator Farm, I almost forgot where I was. It's funny how that happens sometimes. I was so focused on what I was doing that I blanked and forgot about reality. — Mina Rismani