Ellis Mendell School Garden Project
Two years ago, we began to foster a “gardening culture” at the Mendell School by turning the single raised bed in our Outdoor Classroom into a vegetable garden. Students use classroom time for sensory experiences, plant growth observations and mathematical connections, and to inspire artistic representations of the fruits of their labor. With a greater number and variety of planting beds we can incorporate all of our students in similar cooperative learning experiences.
As a school that serves over 75% low-income students with a very active Wellness Council, Outdoor Classroom Committee, and Parent Council, we are eager to broaden and connect our students’ educational experiences through urban gardening. Engaging students and families in this project would help us close the gap in “farm-to-table” and sustainability awareness, provide students access to produce that they have grown themselves along with gardening and nutrition education in order to encourage a sense of ownership over healthy eating, and would expand the work we have already started as a school around the science of planting and composting. Additionally, we aim to forge relationships with the many local organizations around us with a gardening and sustainability focus. As an urban school with exceptionally small grounds, opportunities for creative outdoor engagement and green space are limited. The Mendell is dedicated to maximizing what it has and this project would allow us to turn underutilized pockets of the grounds into vibrant green space and learning areas. A garden coupled with a nutrition program will also help us to tackle unhealthy diets and obesity. On average, 40% of Boston Public School students are at an unhealthy weight and 82% of high school students report not eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. We want to use our garden to change those habits now, in elementary 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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