Spurwink Chelsea Community Organic Garden
Since 2008, the Spurwink Chelsea Organic Garden Program has maintained an organic garden to provide hands-on therapeutic and educational experiences for students with behavioral challenges and developmental disabilities and to supply the school and residential houses with nutritious produce. The garden is used to teach students about all aspects of planning, planting, cultivating, harvesting and eating organic vegetables. By involving students in the garden, we seek to promote their health and well- being, to improve their knowledge of science and mathematics, to promote their lifelong enjoyment of gardening, and to help them develop prevocational skills.
There are four elementary and four high school classrooms in the school, each with 5-7 students ranging in age from 7-19 who will participate in the program throughout the year. The summer program provides an opportunity for 5-6 students to participate in a paid internship program maintaining the garden over the summer break including ongoing planting and seeding, weeding, harvesting, washing and distribution of produce. All students will participate in creating and maintaining the garden including garden planning, preparation and planting, seed ordering and garden layout, direct sowing and transplanting. For many, this is their first exposure to gardening and to eating fresh, unprocessed foods. Young people who have struggled in the classroom are thriving in the garden, gaining knowledge, skills and values that will sustain them for a lifetime.
The garden activities will take place in the upper garden and the lower high tunnel during the winter months. The students will record and track the value of the food they are giving. This will give the students an opportunity to get a valuable work experience and help provide vegetables to the nine residential houses in a CSA style format with extra produce being donated to low-income students.
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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