Learning Resilience at the Norris Middle School Food Garden
So for this season our garden has brought us many lessons. During the school year we started over 250 seedlings in south facing classroom windows in our building. In early May we learned to check the frost dates for the zone we are in, and planted our plants May 12 accordingly. Shortly after a late hard frost hit our garden. Unfortunately, most of the seedlings we planted did not make it, but the weeds somehow survived! Students learned that starting over is just part of the garden, like so many things in life.
So we began again. Jesus, pictured above in a blue sweatshirt digging weeds, volunteered some extra time to help plant newly donated plants after the hard frost. He graduated from Norris Middle School and will be moving to California later this year. At the end of school he thanked me for all the experiences in Green Thumb Club, for digging, planting and learning in the garden.
This summer a new group of students joined our after school program. We had a donation of lumber and mulch, and in combination with our KGI grant we have been able to create 7 new raised beds in our garden. Students are helping use sustainable landscaping practices to remove the turf grass between the raised beds and put in mulch paths. Val, Sonia, Xavier and Nio have been gathering cardboard and newspaper from our recycle bin. We use this as our first layer, after we turn over the turf grass. Then we put down a thick layer of mulch. Once all the mulch paths are done the school staff will not have to mow the garden, saving our school time and money. The mulch paths also look lovely in the garden, giving all a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Then we hit adversity again. We had a second storm in early June with hail the size of goal balls. Most of our plants were badly damaged. After feeling sad and frustrated, we decided to try again. So we approached a few local garden shops and were able to get donations of plants. Starting twice was a good lesson for everyone, both teachers and students. We are all learning many lessons of resilience in the garden. Starting over in the path of adversity is a life skill we all need, and the garden has been a great way to practice this skill with students, and for teachers. Now in early July our second planting is growing strong and we are expecting to harvest in late August, right after our new students start back to Norris Middle School.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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