Perhaps, all schools should have a pig. Otherwise, how do we get a child to really understand that pepperoni doesn’t grow on trees?
In March 2014, a few lower school students hatched some eggs. They wanted to keep the chickens. The question was asked, ‘Can you build us a chicken coop?’ Well, we had space in our middle school garden. Easy. We collect lunch and they eat it. When they are six months old, they start laying eggs and we eat them. Everyone is happy.
Some time later, we happened upon a piglet (a small feral pig caught by some hunters). He joined us as well in the garden. It loves middle school lunch. The problem is that the pig doesn’t lay eggs. There have been many questions asked about the pig who has no name – no name as it will one day be large enough for the ‘imu’, the traditional Hawaiian underground oven. Everyone is not happy.
It has been an interesting experiment in how disconnected we become from our food sources. I have had students arguing that we should not eat the pig, while eating pepperoni pizza, not really making the connection. Should this worry us? Other students, while eating beef, saying that they like pigs, but not cows, a seemingly odd distinction. Perhaps this should worry us more? Very thought provoking lunch time conversation. I have mixed feelings now, and feel that it has been a good provocation to promote deeper thinking about where our food comes from and our place in the world as consumers. Interestingly, no vegetarians have voiced a concern and I wonder if it is because they have already considered the questions that the others are just being forced to ask through this experience.
The next addition to the garden will be a pepperoni tree.