Learning community garden beds were moved
Due to the fact that all the garden beds outside of the classrooms were to be torn up and replaced, learning community garden beds were shifted next to the community garden. In 2016 small 5'x5' cedar sided raised beds were made available to every learning community that wanted one and approximately half took this opportunity to garden. The younger age group teachers particularly value using the beds for teaching purposes. Plants that provided produce for making salsas, soups and pizzas are the most popular. We have not returned to gardening next to the school building. Growing conditions are better in the new location.
A "market garden" was established to give everyone interested a chance to be involved
Farm to school coordinator, Heather Smith, realized that while not all the teachers in the school were interested in gardening, many of the students in their learning communities were. She established a fenced-in zone to develop a "market garden" to engage these students. She now takes clusters of interested students out for planting, maintenance and harvesting experiences. Students love these digging and planting opportunities. This garden space is typically planted with root crops, pumpkins and greens that can be harvested in the Fall when students return to school after the summer. The cafeteria purchases much of the produce to be served to students at lunches. Another portion of the produce is used for instructional purposes within the family and consumer science program and the farm to school program.
Another task in the long-term gardening program is to have an established fruit producing operation. For us that means planting and caring for strawberries, raspberries and blueberries (along with apples and pears). Our school has a well established fruit and vegetable snack program so students know and love many fruits. Home grown fruit options are deeply appreciated.