Since August we have been spending lots of time on the front yard of Scott Montgomery Elementary School. This summer we were fortunate to be introduced to Frances the school librarian, Martin a neighbor who is very involved in the school, the principal who welcomed us and many inspiring teachers...one thing led to another and in August we planted a pumpkin patch in front of the school. Since then we have met lots of pre-schoolers who visit the garden daily, battled bermuda grass and enjoyed the most exciting garden project we have ever been involved in.
The pumpkins plants are growing and we hope to get some pumpkins before the first frost. More exciting though is watching young emerging gardeners get involved and take ownership of the planting. We hang out, dig, weed, water, eat local apples, look for worms and talk about how food grows and where foods come from. This winter when the weather is less hospitable we plan to cook with small groups of pre schoolers weekly.
Right after the garden was planted we started thinking...what's next. Frances suggested that we start applying for grants to build raised beds, one for each grade level. In addition we are also hoping for plant a bunch of fruit trees and build a community compost system.
This week John made preliminary drawings of the front yard as we envision it. We are thinking of names for the project...top of the list right now is, Kitchen Garden at Scott Montgomery Elementary. In the next couple of weeks we plant to start a SME Kitchen Garden Blog. Below are our working notes on the project:
1. Our goal is to continue the practice ofand Food Preparation with the preschoolers at Scott Montgomery Elementary.
2. Expand the practice to the rest of the school with a raised bed for each grade.
3. Build an outdoor classroom where students and teachers can meet for discussions and food preparation demonstrations.
(the physical space)
1. A welcoming mulched path that circles the flag pole an extends to the front of the pre-schoolers garden.
2. Nine 4x8 raised beds (288 cubic feet of soil needed) on top of mulch. One for each grade with three extra to create an interest in an after school program.
3. An Outdoor Classroom, which could at first be nothing more than a mulched oval with stepping stones.
4. Plant an assortment of perennial herbs in the existing raised bed.
5. Plant 5 Butterfly Bush behind existing pumpkins.
6. Plant 6 fruit trees on the 5th street side of SME.
7.10 Daisy plant underneath Kipps sign and 2 fall Clematis climbing up each leg of sign.
8. 100 Daffodil Bulbs for around each large tree.
9. Create living fences by growing on chain link fences: Honey Suckle, Morning Glories, Creeping Fig or maybe just Ivy?
10. Compost center on the east side of SME.
Kitchen Garden (the social space)
An Organic Kitchen Garden brings children closer to the soil, closer to where food comes from. By creating a place where the connections between health, food and the environment are made, children develop an appreciation for their immediate environment and the ramifications of choices.
An Organic Kitchen Garden introduces the preparation of Organic Food and heightens a sense of authorship as well as commitment.
An Organic Kitchen Garden is a practice where theoretical lessons (math, science, sociology and physical education) can be applied.
An Organic Kitchen Garden presents the oppurtunity to drop the boundry between community and school by developing a compost center as well as inviting participation.
If anyone want to get involved contact me.