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Learning Gardens Continue to Grow at IPS Schools
April 21, 2017
Students and teachers at Edison School of the Arts School 47 helped to plant seeds in the school's new Learning Garden. The raised bed gardens, which are intended to also serve a outdoor classrooms, were donated by The Kitchen Community (TKC).
On April 13, volunteers, teachers and students gathered around the newly built garden beds at Edison School of the Arts School 47. Edison is one of many IPS schools that have or are installing Learning Gardens through the Kitchen Community initiative.
Class by class, students take turns planting the school’s first round of produce: radishes, peas, lettuce, spinach and cilantro. These crops were specially chosen as they all come from quick-germination seeds that will sprout before school lets out for summer. After the harvest, Edison will have another planting day that will yield in late July as students come back from summer break.
“We provide programming for the garden team and the teachers to make sure they have a healthy and thriving garden,” said Theresa Vernon, Regional Director of the Indy branch of The Kitchen Community. “We offer workshops and will always provide the seeds and starts for the gardens and ongoing training until the garden team feels like master gardeners themselves.”
The garden beds and accompanying benches are all made from recycled products and are non-biodegradable to withstand the Indiana weather for many years. Gardens are designed to fit the individual needs and space of each school. The goal is to create a space that will stand permanently and serve as an outdoor classroom.
The Kitchen Community has partnered with Common Threads to come up with a learning-garden curriculum that goes far beyond the basics of gardening. Nutrition is the primary focus of the program, but teachers are also provided with lesson plans ranging from biology and STEM to language arts and literacy.
Though they have not yet implemented any plans for learning gardens in IPS high schools yet, the Kitchen Community has big plans for our upperclassmen as well. The curriculum for gardens in high schools focuses primarily on entrepreneurial skills; scholars will design their own business plans around the gardens and sell the produce they have cultivated.
During the planting at Edison, Vernon took a few moments to look at the beds of soil, soon to be rife with life. “We encourage teachers to bring their kids out and journal. We just want them to get out into the garden and see the things they planted growing,” said Vernon.