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Watch Our Garden Grow

By
Janice Longino,   Amy Parks-heath El
Play:
Topics:
Access to Healthy Foods
Watch Our Garden Grow

This is the 3rd season for our garden. As a campus, we continue to grow with our garden, our community, involvement, and our parent involvement. Our student SHAC team are the leaders for our garden and work with our classes to plant, water, and maintain our garden. We now have the honor of a master gardener working with our students and comes to work in and evaluate our garden continuously. We have now included the help of our community and our parents. We received over 100 fall plants from Bonnie Plants which also included curriculum to share with our students and our teachers.  

Each class planted their own vegetable plants and have the responsibility of taking care of their garden box. Our community store “Living Earth” donated enough compost to fill each garden box. We now send them pictures to hang in their store to show their support for our school. A community Boy Scout group landscaped our garden, adding flowers, mulch, and spools for students to sit on while having lessons in the garden. Last spring, we were able to purchase 6 rain barrels to have surrounded our garden. 

This year, a parent has volunteered to work with our students in painting the rain barrels. Each grade level will have a part in painting their rain barrel to provide aesthetic color for the garden. She will also help the students paint the spools for the students to sit on while out in the garden. In the spring, our master gardener is going to work with the students in planting a salsa garden. When complete, the goal is to serve the hot sauce to the students and allow them to taste from the garden they have grown. Other vegetables will also be planted. Fruit trees are to be added.  

With this experience, the hope is that not only will students learn how to work gardens, but want to start a garden of their own at home. We also want to be able to serve to the kids the food that our garden grows. We have a ways to go, but the growth has been so fun, exciting, and inspiring for our students.

How did you accomplish your goals?

We are able to accomplish our goals because of grants, donations, our parents, students, and staff. The garden began with a Healthy Zone School Recognition program. Because of the enthusiasm, we have had so many people involved in the garden. We have Boy Scouts making our garden aesthetically beautiful. We had Bonnie Plants donate crops to plant. Our master gardener helps us each week. Our local businesses have donated mulch and compost. Our students and staff are on board.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

We plan to continue with the garden by having the students engaged and taking ownership for their accomplishments. With community, parents, and students working together, the hope is to instill a commitment to eating healthy and eating food that they have grown that is fresh and from THEIR GARDEN.

What improvements have you seen at your school?

We have seen a few small improvement but enthusiasm is growing. Students have to continually see the garden, help with the garden, and make it their own. That is how we will be successful. Full ownership for the students with the support of knowledgeable adults to lend a hand, words of encouragement, and support.