Monday, March 7, 2011

Five Schools Implementing Community Garden Projects

This is a guest post by Katheryn Rivas, a freelance writer and blogger.


As the threat of climate change continues to sink in to our collective psyches, this generation has had to slowly un-learn everything we became accustomed to in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. The climate-conscious have done away with gas-guzzling SUVs in favor of hybrid or electric vehicles, switched out their light bulbs, learned to recycle, and learned to shop locally.

With a little help, the next generation of young people won't have as much un-learning to do. Parents, teachers, administrators and the greater community who want to instill principles of sustainability into the next generation can start with the children under their care. One way of doing so is by implementing community gardens in neighborhood schools. Here we'll discuss five schools that are implementing community garden projects to teach children about nature, the environment and what it means to grow one's own food.

1.) Mount Kisco Elementary School.

This public K-5 school in Mount Kisco, NY, is planting its first community garden this spring with the generous financial backing of a community partner, the Bedford Garden Club. Not only will members of the garden club act as master gardeners to the children who will learn from the project, but the community as a whole will be able to grow food there too. Children will learn how to garden, compost and irrigate using rain barrels. The garden, which will grow tomatoes, lima beans, snap peas, radishes, sunflowers and herbs, may be used in the future to launch an after-school cooking program. Read more about this community garden in Chappaqua-Mount Kisco Patch.

2.) Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.

This urban public school in Berkeley, Calif., benefits from a program several years in the making called the Edible Schoolyard, a one-acre organic garden where they learn how to grow, harvest and prepare produce. The community partner here is a nonprofit called the Chez Panisse Foundation. The garden includes berries, herbs, fruits, veggies and flowers. There's even an adjacent kitchen classroom where students learn to cook using the produce they harvest. Most recently the project has taught children about sustainability through a Rainwater Catchment System. Read more about this education garden at the Edible Schoolyard Website.

3.) Waupaca Community/School Garden.

This community garden is situated on property owned by the School District of Waupaca in east central Wisconsin and is truly a collaboration among local businesses, nonprofits, a local school district and individuals. Not only is the garden used as an outdoor classroom and educational tool for area schools, but the community uses it to supplement the Waupaca Food Pantry with fresh produce. The community garden grows herbs, fruits and veggies like basil, squash, zucchini, cantaloupe and sweet corn. Read more about this community garden on the school district's website.

4.) The Wheeler School.

This independent day school in Providence, RI, has an organic garden where students learn to grow food and that also contributes food to the RI Community Food Bank. The garden not only provides a chance for children to get their hands dirty learning to plant and harvest food, but it also produced more than 200 pounds of organically-grown produce for the food bank in 2010. Learn more about the Wheeler School's garden through its blog.

5.) Carmel Middle School.

This school in Carmel, Calif., teaches kids about sustainability alongside the basics of gardening using a program called MEarth and an organic garden situated on the nearby Hilton Bialek Habitat. Kids learn about native plants, habitat restoration, climate change, cooking and nutrition, and waste and recycling through this program. The program also invites the wider community in through open volunteer days. Learn more about how the garden helps in the education process at Center for Ecoliteracy and the Carmel Habitat.


This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities which discusses about education, students life, college life, career and eco living. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: