MCES School Garden

School Garden Fruitful Venture at MCES
Posted on 08/16/2021

When Christina Rich arrived at Mount Carmel Elementary School (MCES) to begin the 2018-19 school year, she had no idea that starting a school garden would be as fruitful as it has been. 

“I proposed the idea at the end of the 2018-19 school year, and then I reproposed it last year, but of course with the start of school being the way it was we couldn’t get it going until spring 2020,” Rich said. “ I’m grateful for the help and donations from a lot of places like Farm Bureau, Lowes and Home Depot, because we started things from scratch.”

Along with getting help from the community, Rich also received assistance from some smaller helpers, as her kindergarten class were the ones who initially helped her set up the garden and get it going. 

MCES veggies“Most of the work except for cutting wood for the raised beds and things like that were done by the kids,” Rich said. “They did all the soil and planted the seeds into the earth, and it was really awesome.”

After planting a crop of cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes and strawberries just before spring break, the group worked the garden faithfully and eventually yielded a bountiful harvest in May. 

Since Rich’s kindergarten class has gotten the garden off the ground, many other classes and students at MCES have pitched in to help keep it going. 

In fact, over the summer, Rich said that students and parents from the school volunteered to water and weed the garden, which often led to the school posting online that it had crops to give away. 

“That was exciting to see because it allowed the kids and families to get out and do something together,” Rich said. “I’m glad Mr. Holland supported it, because it’s been way more fruitful than I could have ever hoped.”

With the whole school being involved in the garden, Rich added that it provides several educational opportunities for the students at MCES as well. 

MCES veggies

“It provides a good hands-on learning experience with understanding weather patterns or parts of the plant, which are kindergarten standards, or how to take care of the planet and showing them that farming can be a career,” said Rich. “We try to include the whole school in the garden, so some teachers have lessons that incorporate portions of it.”

Along with teaching lessons, Rich says one of the most enjoyable parts of the garden is getting to watch her students taste their vegetables and fruit that their hard work produces. 

“It’s really amazing because kids get to see something they plant grow and they have the chance to taste test it. We taste-tested radishes, and many of them ordinarily wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that at home,” Rich said. “It really is a fun and engaging learning experience for all involved, including myself, because I didn’t know a lot about gardening when we first started.”

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