Last winter, responsibilities for germinating, planting, weeding and watering were assigned across grade levels from preschool through grade eight. Since the garden is strategically placed in the middle of the campus, excitement grew with daily inspections by eager students tracking the first growth spurts -- all the way through to harvest. Volunteer families took turns over the summer tending the garden, and many families dropped by in July and August just to enjoy the beautiful display, monitor the growth and pick the flowers and vegetables.
In September, we held our first school-wide taste-testing events during lunch periods using our own tomatoes and zucchini. Volunteer chefs supplemented our garden’s harvest with additional store-bought organic tomatoes and zucchini, cooking and preparing them in a variety of ways to serve. Students were encouraged to sample anything that looked appealing and, to many a parent’s surprise, it was all deemed appealing! The lines for “seconds” outgrew the samples!
Nutrition education is now seamlessly woven into the earth science components of the curriculum and, based on this early and resounding success, the program is expanding. This year, we planted crops that will produce an early yield – garlic, potatoes and herbs, and we can’t wait for the next taste-testing events.
As John Denver sang, “Inch by inch, row by row, gonna’ make this garden grow…”. It amazes us all how much was accomplished in a single growing season. Students, faculty and parents share ownership and responsibility for the further growth of a beautiful idea and a beautiful garden.