What we can learn from plants
Updated: Apr 16
Being a student at the department of Philosophy and Education triggers my enthusiasm about all the educational elements that surround us. Some months ago, I entered a volunteering program called “Nature’s Common Third”, which took place in a beautiful and peaceful land close to Thessaloniki.
The main idea of the program was to display the benefits of the Nature’s Common Third Model, which is an educational tool. All the activities organized by our facilitators were based on using the natural resources and products that the land may give. The facilitator NGO Athirma picked up students from the local community of Thessaloniki and unaccompanied minors from the refugee’s community of Alexandria.
At first, we were strangers among strangers, who tried to do things such cultivating and organizing team’s work, without ever in the past having done similar activities. What is more, we were from different cultural backgrounds, speaking different languages. The strange thing is that none of these were an obstacle for building strong and meaningful relationships in order to accomplish our goal, which was to create a fully organic and environmentally friendly product.
Greek land is especially gifted with all the needed elements for cultivating vegetables and herbs, so we started. Through the communal work in the field we soon understood that there are no cultural boundaries when cultivating plants, because it is an activity that welcomes the cultural diversity and even makes it more productive for the participants to exchange knowledge and experience. After four months of meetings one-time per week, we had our own “Garden of Inclusion” and we were proud about that.
We were a team and that was the thing! Our plants except of the product itself have cultivated inside each one of us respect about every living being and the land that provides our food, on the grounds that this is not granted for every human on the world. It is also important to highlight that being a team overcome our cultural stereotypes and convinced us that there are not unattainable goals. All the decisions taken during the meetings were based on democratic principles and equal respect for every member of the team without superiors or age division.
Plants may not have a voice but for sure they have a strong role in our lives, their growth demands dedication and accuracy. It is like meeting someone for the first time and you try come closer and closer each time. Relationships need time, the same applies to the cultivation of plants but the inner fulfilment that one can gain from that pays the cost for the effort. What our contemporary world mostly lucks are the investment of feelings on personal relationships because everyone is too busy, but it costs nothing to start changing this reality by simply buy a small cactus for your window. It doesn’t need too much care thus it could still help you build a strong relationship.
P.s Remember the words of the little Prince: 'it is the time that I spent that makes my rose so unique'