Although growth has been slower than in some parts of the country, we are beginning to see a growing trend toward school gardens in our area. Some examples:
Harrison High School garden a cooperative project of LiveWell Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Urban Gardens, and the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. The urban farm produced approximately 811 pounds – donated to Care and Share Food Bank (rainbow chard, carrots, green beans, potatoes, onions, squash, zucchini, pumpkins, herbs) Thirty plots for community members and businesses grew tomatoes, eggplants, green beans, lettuce, potatoes, flowers, and herbs. There are also fruit trees–peach, apple and cherry.
Wasson High School. Program developed and maintained by teacher, Dolores Higgins with the assistance of Slow Food Colorado Springs which helped with building the raised beds. Dolores Higgins also teaches an honors Horticulture class at Wasson.
Manitou Elementary School. Garden started and maintained by school librarian with assistance of students. They also have a ‘woolly’ school garden to grow edible vine plants, herbs, and berries indoors “ We have a solarium that acts beautifully as a greenhouse. Our problem was not enough floor space but oodles of vertical space. Woolly Pockets will fulfill our wellness and summer garden needs indoors.”
Galileo Middle School. Currently houses a geodesic dome where produce is grown for the Good Food Project at D11 under supervision of PPUG. Currently NOT a student garden. The District is considering a proposal for an extensive sustainable garden surrounding the greenhouse.
Rockrimmon Elementary. The garden was the brainchild of Michele Davis, a first-grade teacher. In 2010, she found an accomplice in parent Mary Emily Nelson, who had recently moved to the area.
“Our garden was born out of a need to teach kids about where food comes from.” At least 60 kids are involved in the Rockrimmon Garden Club but every class has visited the garden. The young gardeners said it’s definitely worth all the work, adding that the experience is something all kids should have. When the project came together, kids applied for and received a $5,000 Green Grant from the district that they may seek again.
The garden now boasts a beautiful donated fenced garden with approximately 30 raised beds, about a third of which are rented to community members. They also have composting and worked with Eagle Scouts to build a small outdoor amphitheater for classes, etc. A gardening after school club takes care of the garden during the school year and over the summer. As with most school districts, all volunteers and those renting community gardening plots, go through the volunteer screening process with the district.
Woodmen Roberts Elementary is in the process of putting together a community garden at their school.
Foothills Elementary is also in the organizing phase for their school garden.
A common denominator in these examples is one passionate person who persevered to insure the project came to fruition. Research shows that those gardens are most apt to succeed when local school community members and neighborhood residents are involved and create a sense of community around the garden.