Author: Lisa Marie Gagliardi

It started with a shelf…

It started with a shelf…

Shared by Nicole Pierce . As I began to think deeper with fast fooding ideologies,  I began to look closer at the ebs and flows in our classroom, at the dance between the children and the materials in a new way. We often fall back 

Rethinking food as animate

Rethinking food as animate

Shared by Lisa-Marie Gagliardi . With a magnifying glass over the lens of the iPad camera, Laura and I captured photos of decomposing apples. I posted these photos on the classrooms walls inviting responses from children, parents, and educators. The apples seemed to be unrecognizable 

Extractive aesthetics: Noticing and questioning extractive relations

Extractive aesthetics: Noticing and questioning extractive relations

Shared by Laura Salau

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Beautiful fall displays adorn our spaces. Pumpkins, squash and gourds intentionally placed for children to admire and observe. The autumn colors transparent in the cornucopia of fall in the bountiful harvest of the season. A mature sunflower; it’s glorious, gigantic blossom and four foot stem, set out beautifully on the floor adorned on mural paper; offers an invitation to observe, investigate and creatively translate children’s interpretations. 

Intentions are good but have we forgotten the rights of the more-than-human world? Do us, as humans, have the right to kill and extract this sunflower for our prosperity and consumerist goals rather than leave it to disintegrate and regenerate into the soil, to feed the animals and insects, to re-consummate the soil?

What are the rights of a tree? The rights of a plant? The rights of an animal? What right do we have to govern more-than-human worlds for our own selfish consumerist greed? What is the difference of displaying a gourd in the mud kitchen or beautifully adorning a table than providing children with a bowl of spaghetti as a means of sensorial play? Have we reflected on care and love?

We have become consumed with capitalism and consumerism. Greed and extraction dominate Western civilization. Quantity and possessions, fabricated beauty and competition rule our ways. Images in Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook – all in competition with one another. A manufactured environment and augmented reality.

How do we connect in a spiritual, soulful relation with others, built on integrity, trust, and sustainability? Honoring and listening to each other’s voices while honoring our Earth. How do we make ethical choices and stay with the complexity of our ethical questions? How do we walk without solutions? Without fixing things?

I sit and watch as children investigate a tree. Wrapping their arms around its trunk. Feeling the ridges within the bark and eventually their fingers making their way upward and stopping at a knot. I focus in and look closer as their fingers notice small emerging rounded buds. One by one they begin to extract them, pick them off, roll them in their fingers and then discard them. I feel a rushing sense of conflict.

I am conflicted: Should I allow this to happen knowing they are ultimately creating a relationship with this tree? How do I interrupt and intervene when they watch educators cut fresh flower blossoms to be placed in vases for their aesthetic value? I notice the hypocrisy. What kind of relations are we cultivating, creating and sustaining?

Food, death & obligation

Food, death & obligation

Shared by Lisa-Marie Gagliardi . Curious about the more-than-human relations in pedagogical spaces, I paused with a group of children and looked at a collection of decomposing apples in a plastic milk crate. Together we noticed the life crawling around, between, through, on and in 

Thinking with the Willows: Cultivating Caring Dispositions

Thinking with the Willows: Cultivating Caring Dispositions

Shared by Tanya Farzaneh . How might we begin to re-story this story of living with and entangled in neoliberal logics of consumerism and disposable relations?  How can we begin to heal and restore? “How do we live our responsibility for healing?” (Kimmerer, 2013. p. 

Living with UNdisposable Destructions

Living with UNdisposable Destructions

Shared by Tanya Farzaneh

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“Each of us can name these wounded places. We hold them in our minds and our hearts. The question is, what do we do in response?”

(Kimmerer, 2013, p. 327).

We return on Monday morning to the mass destruction upon our doorstep; torso, limbs, broken pieces of the trees resemble that of a horror film. Here, left upon the doors of the child care a heaping piles of corps. The scene is disturbing, a chilling story of a mass slaughter and the lack of respect and disregard for life. There is no honor here. The air is heavy, the smell of fresh cut pine, the smell of murder. Entangled in the inheritance of neo-liberal destructions and ruins, we attend to indigestible path of disposable relations. In a bid to honor the pines we save the destruction. 

How might we encounter the pines in the messy, tangled ruins of neoliberal destruction? What possibilities emerge when we see our relations with pines not through resource-extraction-consumption relational logics but as a call to resist complacency and maintenance of the status quo?

We gather the remains, the limbs, torsos, arms and legs of the pines, and willows as a testament to the wrong that was done here, to not forget. A heaping pile of corpses, an assemblage, a visual to the loss of the life of fellow citizens. The children, educators, and families live with the bodies of the pines, the remains at the front of the centre, entangled with and attending to neoliberal destruction and logics.

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References

Kimmerer, R. (2013). Braiding sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.

Pining for the Pines

Pining for the Pines

Shared by Tanya Farzaneh . The cold wind greets our faces like a hard slap on an unusual frigid spring day. The children, educators and college students gather outside with signs in hands and farewell wishes in our hearts; to bid goodbye to some the 

Coming to the table through rituals that do not repeat

Coming to the table through rituals that do not repeat

Shared by Nicole Pierce and Randa Khattar . What does it mean to live as a radical singularity collectively? What does it mean to come to the table – both literally and metaphorically – as a radical singularity with a trajectory desirous of becoming a collectivity 

Paying attention to the apples

Paying attention to the apples

Shared by Lisa-Marie Gagliardi

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An old apple tree stands in the childcare centre playground. The sporadic spring weather slowed the growth of the apples this summer and in late summer the apples fall to the ground before ripening. The children are curious to taste these apples and snack on them outside the routinized eating times in the childcare schedule. Local racoons and bees also join to chew at the apples. The apples are sweet invitations to the children, bees and racoons to take part in a late summer buffet. Educators walking through the garden frequently trip on small, half-eaten, decomposing apples.

These encounters elicited a variety of responses in the childcare centre. Some educators were concerned with public health regulations and the increasing amount of visiting animals’ excrements in the playground. With developmental concerns at the forefront, some of the apples were instrumental learning tools in sink/float activities, displays for representational drawing, props for dramatic play. Amid the child-centered practices continuing on in the childcare centre, I wondered: What might happen if we paid attention to the more-than-human common worlds? What kinds of relations might we notice when we decenter the human? How might our relations to knowledge and the knowability of the world shift?

Paying attention to everyday more-than-human encounters resituates the human within more-than-human common worlds. Noticing the ways in which we relate with others in our common worlds opens possibilities for alternative narratives that are not concerned with achievable goals or progress or personal gain. In this sense, the arts of noticing (Tsing, 2015) has twofold implications: 1) the act of noticing requires an ontological shift in how we attend to emerging stories in early childhood education, and 2) the work of noticing disrupts the neoliberal logics inherent in education practices that conform to dominant narratives of productivity, efficiency, and utilitarianism.

How might we, as a collective, enact opportunities to notice differently and to ask different questions beyond developmental skill-building? What might it do to slow down and notice how humans are inextricably entangled in common food worlds? How might we cultivate an attention to the incoherences and partialities of emerging co-composed foodworlds that are endlessly shaping and reshaping multispecies lives?

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References

Tsing, A. L. (2015). The mushroom at the end of the world: On the possibility of life in the capitalist ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Noticing Redemptive Practices

Noticing Redemptive Practices

Shared by Lisa-Marie Gagliardi and Randa Khattar . Over the past year and a half, we have been meeting regularly as a research collective to think together about our fooding pedagogies. The children, educators and pedagogist researchers have been experimenting with ways of coming together