I always pointed out that we could have gone to the pet shop in the street behind the school and bought a packet of assorted birdseed. This would've served our purpose, except some of the seeds that are given to birds produce plants that are not meant to be eaten by people.

Apart from the grow-your-own fascination this exercise held for kids, it also included other valuable life lessons. There was the importance of adhering to instructions, and caring for something that depended on you. There was the lesson that a seed holds the miracle of life within it; agronomists (experts in agricultural sciences) tell us that seeds can remain inert, yet viable, for years.

The children also learned the difference between price, value, and worth, and how you don't need to spend a lot of money to eat delicious, healthy food. This was "fast food: that was "real," did not leave a greasy coating on the hands, and could be eaten by Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus... and vegetarians!

Later, if they decided to take up home-economics or biology, the kids would learn that when seeds sprout, a complex chain reaction is set in motion: proteins break down into amino-acids, carbohydrates break down into simple sugars, fats become fatty acids, and vitamin and enzyme content was multiplied.

Then, it was enough to know that just as some children had brown eyes, and others blue ones, curly hair or straight, light skin or dark, the sprouts we grew were all different, depending upon their origin.

And, besides – it was a fun activity when "harvest time" came around. We had crunchy, succulent additions for our sandwiches made with scrumptious Maltese bread.


From the vastness of the universe
full of darkness,
stars and infinite space,
to the tiny wonder of one small seed
cradled in dark soil,
bathed in spring rain,
waiting to grow.
You are in it all.
It is all in You.

From the ice of winter,
sparkling, waiting, quiet.
To the green of summer,
insects thrumming,
scent pulsing from the fields.
You are in it all.
It is all in You.

From the smiling wonder
of a baby reaching out
with a plump hand,
eager to explore,
to the smiling wonder
of an elder enjoying a sunny day,
remembering similar days.
You are in it all.
It is all in You.



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