Washington Middle School Garden Club members recently picked several cabbages from their school community garden and donated them to the JPS Central Kitchen where they were made into coleslaw for student lunches.
Last year, the Club donated potatoes and cabbage to JPS Central Kitchen to make soup for students in fifth and sixth grade. All other vegetables/herbs picked by the students are taken home to enjoy with their families in hopes of sparking an interest in gardening at home with family members and develop lifelong skills. Students also grew flowers to provided beautification of Washington school grounds.
The Washington Garden Club has approximately 15 members who meet once a week. Students created graphs to design the garden, planted seeds in classroom greenhouses to later transplant outside, watered, weeded and harvested the garden. All fifth grade students are introduced to the garden during their science classes, and have an opportunity to work in the garden and join the Garden Club.
The garden began through the Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play (CHP) grant. Besides helping with funding, CHP has provided numerous presentations to Washington students on the importance of healthy eating.
The garden provides hands-on evidence of what grows well, and why, in Jamestown’s climate and soil, which then helps students determine what is planted next year. It also provides an outlet for those students who thrive on the outdoors and nature.
“The garden is important because it supports the fifth grade science curriculum on plant growth and the fifth grade social studies curriculum, which studies the importance of using natural resources and being self-sufficient,” said Washington Middle School teacher Deb Szwejbka. “It broadens students’ horizons on identifying and tasting different types of healthy choice foods and offers them an active role in growing their own food – seeing the process from seed to harvest. We love seeing students’ faces when they are encouraged to pop of piece of mint into their mouth!”
The Resource Center clients also made and donated aprons and kneepads for use while working in the garden. Teachers who have been involved with the Community Garden include: Andy Scalise, Jen Cronin, Sara Joly, Priscilla Menzies, Deb Szwejbka and Amy Anderson.