The Garden at Oswegatchie School is a sustainable organic garden where children get a hands on experience learning where their food comes from while developing an appreciation and respect for nature. The Garden will be a learning center to teach gardening as well as incorporating art, music, literature, math and science. It is a place where children are encouraged to join in and participate in the process of creating, developing and maintaining the garden!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Progress in the garden ...

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.
Bush beans.
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!



  1. I loved reading your posting today, Rob, and certainly understand why you find inspiration for this project in the children of the Oswegatchie community. You and Cynthia, and Sarah and Amanda, have gone well beyond what I would have ever dreamed as possible for creating a hands-on learning environment at our school. Your dedication and devotion to helping children understand where food comes from is so refreshing and commendable.
    Thank you also for the book recommendation - I will put the Edible Schoolyard on my summer reading list ! Many thanks to the Terry family for your tireless efforts in bringing this very special garden to fruition. nancy macione

    1. Thank you for your kind words Nancy. We are very excited about this project and now that the garden is established we have some really big plans in store for next year!
      Thank you again for your support.