Cold Spring Environmental Studies Magnet School Gardens
Friends of Cold Spring School Inc. is a volunteer nonprofit organization supporting the Indianapolis Public School District’s sole environmental studies magnet through partnerships with community agencies and organizations that share a focus on the environment.
The Friends have worked with Cold Spring teachers and students to develop a number of demonstration gardens—forest edge native plants, ornamental garden, rain garden, prairie, chicken run, and a farm-to-fork kitchen garden aiming to teach good nutrition and healthy habits. The plan is to share these elements of an outdoor classroom with other schools in the district through day camps and summer camps.
The Friends are requesting the present grant to expand the number and nature of edible plants we grow as a demonstration of sustainable farming methods.
We will repurpose a set of eight neglected raised beds situated at some distance from the school, away from water sources. We will rejuvenate the beds with compost and good soil, then plant them with perennial vegetables (e.g., asparagus, rhubarb, sunchokes, onions) and fruiting shrubs. Following permaculture guidelines, we will pair these with companion annuals and herbs that attract pollinators, moderate soil temperatures, preserve moisture, and enrich the soil.
Next to the existing farm-to-fork teaching garden, we will establish a Three Sisters bed where we grow corn, beans, and squash in the manner of Native Americans in the Southwest. The corn will provide support for the beans, the beans will fix nitrogen in the soil, and the squash will serve as a ground cover.
Our objective is to create gardens that will sustain themselves with minimal inputs while providing food for humans and wildlife alike. The beneficiaries of the knowledge and experience gained will be the children, teachers, and families of Cold Spring School, and potentially the entire student population of Indianapolis Public Schools.
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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