The 2nd grade class of Chelsea Janssen is learning about urban gardening through a partnership with Urban Farming Education. With donations of organic soil, grow bags, vegetables and herbs, as well as time and expertise, they are off to a great start.
In July, Ms. Janssen was introduced to Pat Whelan, the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at a community partnership event sponsored by Mesa Elementary Schools. Their mutual interest in teaching children how to grow food in an urban environment sparked the joint venture. Mr. Whelan made sure the school garden was prepared for a successful planting season by installing an automatic watering system and Guerrero provided students eager to learn.
In October, Kim Rillero, the program director at Urban Farming Education, brought several varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers ready to plant. Students dug into the soil and carefully placed the plants in rows to mimic the arrays they learned about in mathematics. Each week they will be using those skills to measure the growth and journal changes they observe. They are also watching radish germinate in the classroom so that they can learn what happens under the soil.
Ms. Janssen hopes to promote health and sustainability by connecting children with their food. “The garden will create opportunities for the students to work cooperatively, learn to be responsible caretakers and enjoy delayed gratification.”
School garden educators in urban environments frequently find their programs provide students their first opportunity to dig into the soil and watch a plant grow. Through the gardening program, Guerrero students will gain first-hand experience tasting the vegetables and herbs that they grow.