A few years ago we received rice seed from our friend and grower Christian Elwell of South River Miso in western Massachusetts. We have continued to save seed and grow rice at several of our schools, and study the sacredness of rice for countries around the world.
Sometimes the challenge in school gardens can be making a quick, simple task into an entire hands on lesson. Harvesting rice from a small bed only takes a few minutes. So this fall we collaborated with The Yard to incorporate dance into our harvest. A good rice harvest is a reason to celebrate! Most countries have a ritual, prayer, festival or dance. We learned the traditional Cambodian rice harvest dance, then made up our own dances based on the rice life cycle: plant, grow, harvest, eat, celebrate, repeat!
Students learned that because people across the world eat rice for every meal, it is their staff of life, and treated with the utmost respect. They also learned that harvesting rice is a monotonous and difficult job; through dance, a hard task can become enjoyable. Thank you again to The Yard for the wonderful collaboration between food and movement.
Watch us learn the traditional Cambodian rice harvest dance, Robam Chrot Sruv:
Here are our interpretations: