“I love that the children would eat anything they picked from the garden,” says Lindsay Anderson, site coordinator at Lake Nokomis Community School, Wenonah Campus, in Minneapolis. “I’ve never heard of a child munching on kale, parsley and radishes and saying ‘Yum! I love these!’ but it seemed that since they picked it, they wanted to eat it.”
The MSHS Garden in a Box program provided the school with two raised bed vegetable gardening kits last year, and the gardens thrived. The boxes were located just outside the classroom, where 40 students tended the garden and were involved in small group gardening activities. The location and size of the gardens made them an easy-to-maintain addition to the school’s after-school and summer programs. Activities included making decorative plant labels for the garden; handmade shuffleboard sticks found a second use as tomato stakes and added a distinctive look to the gardens. One student in the summer program made a fairy garden and found a spot to hide it among the vegetables. Excitement and discovery surrounded the small gardens.
Now that school has begun again, the children continue their investigations of the garden. The students are especially excited about encountering critters that live there and further examining them in the classroom. “The gardens have been so easy,” says Lindsay, “and they brought us that extra pleasure of growing our own vegetables right outside the classroom door. Most of our kids just haven’t had this kind of opportunity. Thanks, hort society!”
—Cindy Gilbert, Garden-in-a-Box program coordinator