The 2016/2017 year marked our Farm to School funded garden’s first annual cycle and second spring season. Our school has enjoyed watching the garden unfold and change – particularly the re-emergence of spring and the flowers and pollinators that follow.
After harvesting many fall tomatoes, squash and greens, students started getting their hands dirty again in March with planting seedlings that included greens, leeks, carrots, cabbage, squash, peas, beans, herbs and tomatoes. Many students also enjoy tending to the garden through harvesting, weeding and planting. We often use the herbs from our garden in food studies activities, and other classes such as art, photography and science find it also to be a valuable learning space. One class created value-added products from the garden that were sold as part of a marketing project.
In an effort to cultivate greater understanding of where our food comes from, this year students visited a number of local farms, including a local organic vegetable farm, sheep farm and planted potatoes as part of a CSA program. We also had an Elder visit our garden and discuss the traditional uses of some of the native plants we are cultivating, such as Camas and Oregon Grape.
We are grateful for our little growing space and the opportunity to engage students with learning, planting, harvesting and preparing food and herbs from our school grounds. It reminds us in a very tangible way that food comes from the synergy of natural cycles, human knowledge and effort and the work of our soil microbes, insects and compost. This sparks a sense of wonder and pleasure our school community, and continues to inspire us to strengthen our connections between curriculum and local food systems.