Why are school gardens good? One can wake up everyday with a new reason for why they are an invaluable school and community resource. Even then, through the summer, most school garden go fallow. Do you wonder what you could do for your school garden?
Mallinckrodt School Garden is a good place to turn to see what works and how they do it. The last four years, parents have used Signup Genius to divide up the work of weeding, watering and other garden maintenance issues. Parents are encouraged to come and harvest the produce even if they are not helping with garden maintenance. Last year they had a free yoga class in the evenings for school families and also invited people from the community. This year they have a Farmers’ Market that students set up across the street at Gathesemane Lutheran Church on Sunday mornings. Students who are able to participate learn how to make change, how to set prices, if and when to lower the prices and how to make the customer’s experience meaningful. The money they raise goes to buying the garden journals that a few teachers are using as a tool for outdoor education.
Mallinckrodt School has also developed partnerships with area universities to use the garden as a platform for student teaching and learning. Fontbonne University’s dieteticts students help with the farmers market during the summer and bring nutritional classes to the students during school year. SLU biology students come with Dr. Gerardo Camillo to study native bees in the garden. This team’s excitement and enthusiasm around bees rubs off like pollen on to the school community. Students and teachers always end up learning the most fascinating things about the bees from them. Gateway Greening is another community partner of the school garden. We focus on doing year round education around the garden and work with teachers to provide needed support. Dig It crew – High school Youth Employment Program of Gateway Greening- helped with a lot of weeding and maintenance to keep the garden looking great this summer.
Key to Mallinckrodt Garden’s success is the fact that people have many reasons to come to the garden for a meaningful experience. What can you add to your garden to make it a meaningful place?