Meskwaki Settlement School Garden
The Meskwaki Settlement School garden is a benefit to all students and staff who are a part of the school as well as the families of the students involved with the garden. The garden is primarily used by elementary students and the Meskwaki After School Program (M.A.P.). Through M.A.P. School Engagement Coordinator, an AmeriCorps Vista, works with students after school once a week to teach how to grow food from seed. There are between ten and twelve 4th-6th graders who are assigned to the garden with the M.A.P. program, and a sewing group of the same size who joins us in the garden every week. When we first started the program, we polled the students on their favorite fruits, favorite vegetables, level of gardening experience and a few gardening terms. The poll results indicated that many of the kids had never really had any direct gardening experience; a few had seen their grandparents’ garden, but none of them had closer experiences. The M.A.P. program has been used to create an interest in these children for growing their own food, and eating fresh produce. Many students wanted to plant specific vegetables for themselves. The families benefit from the garden because many of the students have shown more interest in gardening and inquired to take seeds home with them to show their parents how to grow the plants.
The garden has gained more attention from teachers within the school. For instance different classes would go out and explore the garden and one class even asked to be involved by planting a watermelon patch. All of the produce from the garden goes into the school lunches and helps promotes healthier lifestyle, increases physical activity, and expands interest in gardening for themselves.
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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