02 August 2010

My garden sure looks swell

We here at the Main Street Gazette love to talk about food, but today we’re taking a step back from prepared meals and looking into where food comes from. No, we’re not talking about huge fields of wheat, or chicken coops that are larger than my house, we’re getting back to basics and looking into the backyard garden, specifically to the varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables available in one plot from the 2010 International Flower and Garden Festival. While most guests don’t think of the festival as the place for vegetables, instead exploring the displays, blooms, and landscaping techniques, the patch surrounding the American Gothic topiaries of Mickey and Minnie offered a beautiful manicured garden that was also functional for daily cooking.The garden, which was located between Disney Traders and Port of Entry, featured not only the topiaries of Mickey and Minnie, but also vats of milk, hay bales, plow, a miniature windmill, and small water tower. The real stars of the show, however, were the rows upon rows of vegetables and blossoms than ran through the plot. Each particular plant was given its own ‘handmade’ sign at the beginning of the row with words and a picture (perfect for the beginning readers, f.y.i.), but with a distinctly Disney touch. During the festival season, Mickey and Minnie were growing Geppeto’s Garlic Chives, Ursula’s Onions, Peter Pan’s Peas, King Louie’s Bananas, Millet, Mickey’s Beanstalk Beans, Kanga’s Purple Kale, Pinocchio’s Radiccio [sic], Stitch’s Strawberries, Lilo’s Lettuce, Nasturtiums, Pocahontas’ Maize, Minnie’s Mini Tomatoes, Fairy’s Fennel, and Rabbit’s Carrots.I can only imagine the wonderful meals and salads that could be created with these ingredients. However, this garden got me to thinking, why isn’t Disney packaging seeds with these titles? True, there is Mickey’s Mini Gardens available inside The Land, but a full fledged Disney garden is an opportunity to cross-pollinate environmental education (what grows in your neighborhood), literacy (plant names, descriptions, recipes, and care instructions), horticulture (care instructions), cooking and nutrition (recipes), mathematics (plotting out the garden and recipes), and would facilitate getting out of the house and playing/working outside. While the seed packets could be sold throughout Walt Disney World, the initiative would have a website with ideas on plotting out a garden and could help with the logistics of each vegetable row (each seed needs to be X inches apart), have printable and colorable signs for each item, and have easy recipes to create, or rather help create, once the vegetables are harvested. Including social tools, such as an ability to share photographs of gardens of completed meals, would only enhance the experience.While no such gardening unit is in the works with Disney, at least not that I am aware of, it would be a terrific step in the education of tomorrow’s leaders. In the meantime, the gorgeous raw ingredients of Mickey and Minnie’s garden will have to be admired during the International Flower and Garden Festival each year. Admired and, well, making me hungry.

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