The school garden is really starting to take shape, and it is so nice to see the beds starting to fill and vegetables beginning to develop on the plants!
|Tomato plant with cherry tomato forming.|
|Tomato plants growing strong!|
This project began as a simple idea my wife and I had to share our passion for organic gardening with the children at Oswegatchie School. We both have a deep love for gardening and feel strongly about the state of our food system and the need to educate others on the importance of proper nutrition and healthy eating. What better way to do that than with a school garden?
We feel it's important to teach children where their food should come from and also give them the tools and knowledge to be able to grow it themselves, hopefully inspiring some to start gardens at home or even want to start a farm someday. Gardening used to be an important part of peoples lives, teaching life skills to generations, and bringing families closer as they harvest, cooked and ate meals together.
That's why we are devoting so much of ourselves to this project.
|Squash taking over one of the beds.|
I just recently finished reading Edible Schoolyard by Alice Walters.
It's about how an influential chef, Alice Walters, and a small group of teachers and volunteers created an organic garden at a run down school in Berkley California, bringing wholesome food to inner city kids who normally wouldn't experience it. The schoolyard has since grown into a universal idea of Edible Education that integrates academics with growing, cooking, and sharing wholesome, delicious food.
This book was very inspiring and motivating and gave us even more drive to continue to grow our school garden. It reaffirmed our belief that children should be involved in every step of the process because they will retain more by doing and take ownership of a project if they work on it themselves.
"When children are encouraged to grow and cook and enjoy wholesome, delicious food all together, from seed to table and back again, in an atmosphere of caring and beauty, they fall in love with it's lessons."
~ a quote from Edible Schoolyard~
|Yellow crookneck squash forming.|
This project has been a long time in the making, and it is so satisfying to see all the hard work of the children and families that helped build the garden begin to pay off. I am humbled by all the support and interest in this project.
During the after school garden clubs that we run on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have been getting some interesting questions and observations from the children. Most of the smaller kids are curious about how seeds grow into plants. We showed them time lapse videos on seeds germinating to help them understand. They became extremely excited during the next class when someone noticed a squash forming on a plant that they started from seed.
Some of the older kids had never seen a garden and ask a lot of questions about starting one at home. Last Friday we had a child ask if the plants will still be growing when they return to school after summer break. We told her that we will be maintaining the garden all summer and everyone is welcome to come help water, weed and enjoy the harvest from the garden and that the garden will still be growing strong when they return in September. We told them how we will be growing a winter garden, growing lettuce, carrots and greens throughout the winter in cold frames and everyone cheered!
That's what makes this project worth while!