高雄龍肚國小的食農教育

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2013 / 4月

文‧林欣靜 圖‧林格立


背依茶頂山、坐擁田疇綠野的高雄市美濃區龍肚國小,全校師生僅230人,卻是全台灣最落實「食農教育」理念的學校,也因此獲得2012年行政院國家永續發展獎的肯定。

自2005年起,該校學生都曾吃過自己栽種的稻米及各式蔬菜,「誰知盤中飧,粒粒皆辛苦」的「憫農」精神,早已深入他們的日常生活。


「小朋友好,又到了大家最期待的午餐時間了,今天的午餐菜色,有五、六年級大哥哥、大姐姐栽種的有機玉米,大家要把它們全部吃光光喔!」

剛考完期末考的星期三中午,等著慰勞龍肚國小師生的營養午餐,是由當地老店製作,加上蝦米、肉絲、香菇及油蔥酥拌炒的傳統客家粄條,以及清晨才自田中採摘的新鮮玉米。

只見孩子們小心剝開還有點燙手的葉片外殼,再大口咬下汁液鮮甜的黃澄玉米,每一個純真的臉龐,都泛著滿足的笑顏。

《榖子.榖子》扎根農事教育

在龍肚國小的餐桌,再怎麼簡樸的菜色都格外美味,箇中秘訣可由龍肚國小師生拍攝、榮獲2006年台灣國際兒童電影展「兒童人氣獎」的《榖子.榖子》短片一窺究竟。

故事從一份特別的寒假作業說起。影片中,農事體驗課的推手、輔導主任黃鴻松,給了五、六年級學生一人一包種子,要他們利用假期在家育苗。

起初,孩子們認為這是再簡單也不過的作業,不過是鋪土、灑種、澆水,一點都不困難。豈料,種子落土後竟招來麻雀偷吃,秧苗也因忘記照顧而枯萎……,開學後每個人的秧苗,有的茂密、有的卻零零落落。

沒關係,大夥一同挽起褲管插秧去!他們驚訝地發現,原來阿公、阿爸每日所踩的「田水」是如此冰冷,赤裸的腳踝也常被紅螞蟻和不知名的蟲子咬得奇癢無比;好不容易插好的秧苗,更怎麼看都是歪歪扭扭的東倒西歪。

充滿童趣的一畝田,是所有人的心血結晶,孩子們開始學習無農藥、無化肥的栽種方式,竭盡所能地抓蟲、撿螺、趕鳥,守護稻子成長茁壯,最後終於在期末時歡慶收割。

從離農到近農

龍肚學生的農事絕活,可不只是影片中的春耕夏收;在多雨的秋冬季,他們則改種玉米、蘿蔓、南瓜、高麗菜、白玉蘿蔔等多樣蔬果。辛苦勞動的收穫,不但一一化身為午餐佳餚,還成為街坊鄰里的搶購商品,最遠甚至賣到台中、台北,結餘金額則設立專戶,作為孩子們的畢業旅行基金。

眼見龍肚國小的農事體驗課辦出口碑,周邊的福安、吉東國小也陸續跟進,甚至還有都會區的學生自願加入。例如來自高雄市鹽埕區的忠孝國小師生,今年就特別在寒假期間參與龍肚國小的春季插秧活動。自種、自耕、自食,也成為美濃營養午餐獨步全國的特色。

但也有人好奇,美濃本是南台灣的農業大鎮,家中務農的學生所在多有,學校何必多此一舉地進行農事體驗課?

原來創校已93年的龍肚國小,日治時期就有師生一同在校園種稻、種菜,鑽研農事技術的傳統。1970年代後,台灣的升學主義日盛,「離農」觀念也吹進美濃,家長漸漸不再帶著孩子下田工作,學校也默默收起了被視為浪費時間的農事課程,全力衝刺升學。

「老一輩常掛在嘴邊的客家諺語:『要做人頭,莫做人腳』,就是萬般皆下品,唯有讀書高的意涵。但下一代只重升學的後果,就是對孕育自己成長的土地毫無所知,這是文化記憶的失根,」龍肚國小輔導主任黃鴻松感嘆地說。

食農教育串起人與土地的連結

1995年,黃鴻松返鄉任教,他驚訝地發現,不少新一代的美濃子弟從未接觸農事,不少人亦對美濃的種菸歷史及曾為六堆米倉的光榮過往一無所悉。為了填補記憶斷層的空白,他下定決心排除萬難,重新在校園內舉辦中斷多年的農事體驗課。

2001年,黃鴻松和一群認同理念的老師,在校園中規劃一塊小苗圃,開始讓學生進行小規模的種稻體驗。起初師生因欠缺實作經驗,稻子的收成很少,曬榖時更全數進了麻雀的肚子。

多年來,在且戰且走的摸索中,農事體驗課漸漸奠定基礎,耕作規模也從小苗圃逐步擴大至5分地(約1,467坪);每年收成的「龍肚米」,更多達1,500公斤,省下不少餐費開支。龍肚國小也計畫,當未來學校的糧食自給率逐步提高後,就能將現行每日35元的午餐費降為30元,把學生的辛勤收成回饋給家長。

2005年後,龍肚國小更成立「食農教育」小組,進一步地深化教育內涵。曾與日本多所小學交換食農教育心得的黃鴻松指出,食農教育的真諦,不僅在於自給自足、認識鄉土及環境生態;更重要的是讓孩子們從種植經驗中,體會大自然的美麗與殘酷,並培養對食材良窳的辨識能力,同時也學習對食物的提供者常懷感激之情。

「能吃到並與人分享自己種的食物,是一種難以言喻的喜悅,就算討厭吃的青菜,只要是自己種的,嚐起來都變得格外美味!」黃鴻松笑說,自從推行農事體驗課後,學生的偏食行為也改善許多。

在胼手胝足的勞動中,孩子們也常與家長討論如何讓作物長得更好,並將學校習得的知識帶回家中,試圖影響長輩改採無毒農法,親子間更激盪出源源不斷的話題。

「敬禾得榖,敬老得福」,這是流傳於美濃的客家諺語,透過師長的帶領,孩子們已由身體力行的勞動中,體會老祖宗向自然學習的深厚哲理。龍肚國小扎根土地與文化的食農教育,更讓他們的營養午餐,成為無價的人間美味。

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英文

Children of the Corn: Ag Ed at Long-Du Elementary

Lin Hsin-ching /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Chris Nelson

Standing amid lush green farmland backed by Mt. Chading, Meinong’s Long-Du Elementary School, with 230 students and teachers, is the most successful school in Taiwan when it comes to implementing Food and Agriculture Education (“Ag Ed”) for schoolchildren. This is why the school won the 2012 Executive Yuan National Sustainable Development Award.

Since 2005, students at the school have been eating rice, fruits and vegetables they grew themselves, developing an ingrained respect early in their lives for the effort required to bring food to the table.


“Hi kids! The time you’ve been waiting for, lunchtime, is almost here! For lunch today there’s organic corn grown by the fifth and sixth graders. You’ll want to eat it all up!”

It’s lunchtime on a Wednesday, just after finals. A nutritious lunch awaits the students and staff of Long-Du Elementary School in Kao­hsiung’s Mei­nong District: traditional Hakka ban­tiao and corn picked fresh from the fields that morning.

The kids gingerly shuck the still-hot corn husks, and then chow down on the sweet, juicy golden ears of corn, each innocent face beaming with delight.

Grain, Grain: teaching farming

On Long-Du Elementary’s cafeteria tables, even the plainest meals are scrumptious. The secret is revealed in the short film Grain, Grain, shot by Long-Du students and teachers. This film won the Children’s Choice Award at the 2006 Taiwan International Children’s Film Festival.

The story is about a particularly extraordinary winter vacation. In the film, counseling director Huang Hung-sung, promoter of the school’s Agricultural Experience Program, gives fifth and sixth graders a bag of rice seeds each and asks them to grow seedlings at home over the break.

At first, the kids thought it would be the simplest of tasks: preparing the soil, planting the seeds and watering—not hard at all. But they didn’t realize that sparrows would snatch up and eat the seeds, and the seedlings would wilt if not cared for. As the new semester began, some students had luxuriant seedlings, while others were sparse and withered.

No biggie: they went on to roll up their sleeves and transplant the seedlings! The plot of land, filled with childhood charm, was the product of everyone’s sweat and toil. As they learned how to grow crops free of pesticides and fertilizers, the kids exerted themselves by picking off bugs and snails and scaring away birds to protect the seedlings and help them grow. And when the semester ended, they celebrated the harvest.

Back to the land

Long-Du students’ agricultural acumen isn’t limited to the spring rice-growing season as seen in the film. In the rainy fall and winter seasons, they turn to a variety of produce such as corn, lettuce, pumpkins, cabbages, and radishes. The fruits of their labor don’t all become their lunch; they’re also sold to the community and even as far away as Tai­chung and Tai­pei, the excess revenues going into a special account to fund the sixth graders’ year-end trip.

Seeing the good results of Long-Du Elementary School’s Agricultural Experience Program, neighboring Fu’an and Ji­dong Elementary Schools also joined in. Mei­nong’s nutritious lunches of student-grown and -harvested ingredients have become a local trait known throughout Taiwan.

But some may wonder why schools in Meinong, long a bastion of agriculture in Taiwan’s south with many students from farming families, need to carry out this Agricultural Experience Program at all.

Founded 93 years ago, Long-Du Elementary saw its students and teachers growing rice and vegetables together on campus during the Japanese era, committed to the tradition of teaching farming techniques. But in the 1970s, when exam-oriented education burgeoned in Taiwan, agricultural education was no longer a priority. This was even the case in Meinong, where parents gradually stopped bringing their children out to work in the fields with them, and schools quietly dropped agricultural education as a waste of time, instead focusing on teaching to the test.

“The result of this focus on exams was that subsequent generations had no idea how to tend to their land. This is a loss of cultural memory,” laments Huang Hung-sung.

Ag Ed links people to the land

In 1995, when ­Huang returned to teach in Mei­nong, he was shocked to discover that too many new-generation Meinong students had no exposure to farming at all, and too many locals were completely uninformed about the past glories of Meinong’s tobacco and rice growing history. To fill in the gaps of memory, he decided to take the plunge and revive the school’s long-defunct agricultural classes.

In 2001, Huang and a group of like-minded teachers created a small nursery on campus so students could gain experience growing rice on a small scale.

After years of finding its footing, the Agricultural Experience Program has taken root, the scale of cultivation gradually expanding from a small nursery to almost 5000 square meters. Their annual yield of Long-Du Rice has reached 1,500 kilograms, cutting down on lunch costs. As their level of self-sufficiency gradually rises, the school plans to reduce the daily NT$35 lunch fee to NT$30, repaying the students’ hard work to their parents.

Huang, who has exchanged his Ag Ed knowledge with numerous Japanese elementary schools, notes that the true value of Ag Ed lies not only in self-sufficiency and knowledge of one’s native land and the environment; more importantly it gives children the chance to experience nature’s beauty and ferocity, and fosters a knowledge of food quality while also inculcating an appreciation for those involved in producing our food.

From hands-on work, the children often discuss with their parents how to make their crops grow better. Bringing knowledge learned at school back home, they try to influence their elders to switch to non-toxic farming methods. These experiences create an unending source of conversational topics for the family.

“Respect the crops and receive grain; respect the aged and receive blessings,” goes an old Hakka proverb circulating in Mei­nong. From their teachers’ guidance, the children are learning through physical work the rich philosophy of their ancestors toward nature. Long-Du Elementary School’s Ag Ed program, rooted in the land and culture, gives an especially precious flavor to their school lunches.

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