Reflecting on our March Garden Workshops & Celebrating National Garden Month
According to the National Gardening Association, “Every April communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide celebrate gardening during National Garden Month. Gardeners know, and research confirms, that nurturing plants is good for us: attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school, and community spirit grows. Join the celebration and help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place!”
This March, we partnered with the VT Community Garden Network (VCGN) and the Retreat Farm to host a gathering for school garden champions in southern Vermont. This workshop, called Let’s Grow Together, was a time for school teams to identify needs, connect with resources, share stories, and spend time hashing out plans for 2019 school gardens. It is also the first in a series of workshops we will be hosting for educators to come together and focus on different aspects of farm to school programming. We began the evening with a presentation by the VT Community Garden Network about Community Engagement in School Gardens. Libby Weiland, Statewide Network Coordinator for VCGN, shared examples and best practices for engaging families and community members in school gardens from across the state. Following this discussion, attendees broke out into teams to start drafting plans for spring. A few highlights include:
Green Street School’s plan to create a rooftop garden
Bellows Falls Middle School’s plan to host a garden tour and community gathering this fall
Edible Brattleboro’s intention to share sheet mulching resources with workshop participants
Renewed interest in Harvest of the Month Taste Test training for parents & teachers
Thanks to Kevin Stine, Food Connects Board Member, Master Gardener, and Master Composter for sharing his wisdom that evening. And of course, big shoutout to Ali West, Food Service Director for the Brattleboro Town Schools, for preparing a delicious feast of roasted sweet potatoes, massaged kale salad and root vegetable soup!
What will your school do to celebrate National Garden Month?
This March, the Rebel Diablos of Leland & Gray Middle & High school, competed in Vermont’s Junior Iron Chef competition in Essex Junction. The team prepared Jerked Jackfruit Tacos and came away with the Mise en Place award, meaning they demonstrated exemplary teamwork, order, and professionalism. The team was comprised of students Mykah Meizis, Teagan Powling, and Savannah Lawley and coached by health teacher, Sue Jones. According to Jones, the students “represented themselves and their school with grace, poise, and talent.” Congrats Leland & Gray!
Jr Iron Chef VT is a statewide culinary competition organized by Vermont FEED challenging teams of middle and high school students to engage in improving their own health and the health of their community by creating nutritious, local dishes to inspire school meal programs. Visit their website to learn more!