Nov 2, 2022
The actress Helen Mirren once said, “Gardening is learning.” There may be no better example of this saying than the vegetable patch grown by students at Summit Elementary School in Butler, Pennsylvania.
The students learn about math and science from their green thumbs instead of chalky hands. They solve problems posed by real-world obstacles, such as invading pests that eat their kale.
Best of all, they discover the value of sharing their harvest with the community surrounding nearby Broad Street Elementary School. Affordable fresh produce is hard to find there. Such areas are often called “food deserts.”
The kids have been rewarded for their hard work. In September 2021, the students won a $70,000 grant from the Remake Learning/Grable Foundation. They’re using that money to build a greenhouse at their school. The funds will also help them launch an outdoor classroom and open a farm stand at Broad Street. Students will work the stand.
“The kids are in charge of everything,” their teacher, Angela Eyth, told Yahoo News. “They’re so proud of what we’re doing here.”
Eyth and her students launched the gardening project in 2020 after the teacher attended a conference on how to include lessons about farming in the classroom. The students built birdhouses, spun wool, and adopted a calf. Then came the garden. With 16 acres of school district-owned land around their building, there was plenty of room.
This year, the students harvested beans, carrots, corn, peas, pumpkins, and squash. They hope one day to grow Christmas trees.
Eyth told Yahoo News, “It’s amazing when you start with a small idea and it can grow.”
Photo by André Lergier courtesy of Unsplash.
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