Gardner Pilot Academy Garden
Currently the Gardner Pilot Academy, a Boston Public School, serves 359 students in grades K-1 through grade 7. We are a school with title 1 status defined by 86% of our students being of low-income households and 92% of our students being distinguished as “high needs”. We are a diverse community of learners, with 63% of our population speaking languages other than English as their first language and 19% of our students facing the challenge of having identified disabilities. We currently have an outdoor classroom with three raised beds. In the three years I have taught at GPA, we have grown salad greens, herbs, floral bulbs, and potatoes. Through powerful first-hand experience, these projects, conducted by students in K-1 through grade 2 deepen our knowledge and awareness of the life cycles of organisms, the interdependencies of biotic and abiotic parts of an ecosystems, and natural changes that occur over time. I would like to expand our garden and extend our growing season to include some cold-frame gardening that would be conducted by the middle school students. Our K-1 students study pumpkins in the fall. In the past we have purchased pumpkins. This June I envision the outgoing K-1 class planting a pumpkin patch that the incoming K-1 class will observe and then harvest in the fall. Last year K-2 students planted potatoes in June and harvested them as first graders in October. I plan to continue that practice. I love the continuity from one grade to the next and the real-time, place-based learning connected with growing food. Many students find out for the first time where potatoes come from and we roast the potatoes in our school kitchen so they get to experience the potato from seed to plant to harvest to preparation.
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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