Harriet's Haven, a community garden housed at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School in Brunswick, Maine, got its official start in the fall of 2012, shortly after the school itself was constructed. The garden provides more than six hundred elementary school students an opportunity to learn basic gardening skills through hands-on training. In collaboration with the teachers and administrators of the school, the garden project also promotes healthy food choices, teaches about our natural environment and where our food comes from, and enhances classroom learning in subjects such as science, math, and geography.
From planting to composting to harvesting, the students do all the work. Guided by parents, teachers, and community volunteers, the children plant seedlings, water the plants, pull the weeds, harvest the crops, and keep the garden productive and looking good throughout the year. In the summer, students and teachers involved in the special education program assist in tending the garden. Each fall, through coordination with the school's food service program, all 600 kids get a chance to taste the harvest. This past fall, many got their first-ever taste of purple kale and sunflower seeds.
Harriet's Haven depends on the generous donation of time and expertise provided by parent and community volunteers, capital donations from local businesses, and organizational support from the school's parent group, the Stowe Community Group. A KGI grant would support the purchase of much-needed gardening hand tools and a small tool shed, and expand the variety of vegetables that are grown in the garden.
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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