Through the winter, all three of my school districts have been developing school garden plans to initiate once warmer weather finally arrives. A few different approaches have been taken with each school.
In Waukon, I held a school garden kick off event back in December for the junior high students to meet during homeroom. The point of this meeting was just to see how many students were interested in the school garden and to meet as a big group to discuss a few basic plans such as where the garden should go and what kinds of foods we should grow. This was my very first school garden meeting, as well, so I didn’t know how it would go or if anyone would show up. I had placed flyers around the school marketing the meeting and had an announcement made over the intercom. Once the bell rang for homeroom hour, a few students started to walk into the classroom where the meeting was taking place. I was relieved that students were showing up but what I did not expect was that it would take at least five to ten minutes for everyone to file into the room. Our very first garden meeting and 50 students showed up eager to talk about their ideas for the school garden!! The meeting went well and we talked as much as we could about tentative garden plans that we are going to start working on now that spring has arrived! I am not nervous at all anymore about starting up this garden because I know that I have at least fifty students that are going to show up to help plant and plan for the school garden.
Riceville schools are starting a garden as well this year. I held a school garden meeting back in December and around twenty students showed up to help plan. We are having another meeting next Tuesday but in the meantime, we have been planting in the greenhouse seeds that The Pepperfield Project has graciously donated to the school program.
Cresco’s school garden is starting to take shape this spring. Last fall the agriculture class and Mr. Adams constructed eight raised beds outside near the greenhouse and filled them with soil. The wellness committee has approved funds to be spent on the garden this spring and Cresco was also awarded the “2013 A Garden Is The Way To Grow” grant from the USDA. Riceville and Waukon were also awarded this grant which includes a wheelbarrow, gardening tools, a reflective garden sign plus funds to uses to help grow each of the school gardens. We are really excited about this grant.