Thursday, April 28, 2011

Helping a School Learn to Grow

OK OK I know I've been gone a while. I do apologize. But you see, I've been busy gardening for the last 8 months. Yes, gardening. Since September, when I first proposed a school garden to the PTO at my daughter's school, I've been tending to its needs: getting approvals from the city and the school department; writing a grant (which we did not win, but there are others), preparing a written plan, gathering the support of parents and teachers, and finding people in our community to lend their expertise. Since then, I have collected a wonderful, enthusiastic crew of dedicated professionals who share my vision for a garden that will give our children not only a wonderful outdoor classroom for exploring and experimenting, but also lifelong skills for growing their own nutritious foods.
In addition to a most enthusiastic principal, I now have, as co-chair, a fantastic teacher who is leading the way for the rest of the teaching staff, helping them wade into the dirt and try their hand at planting a more effective kind of seeds in the heads of their little charges.
I have an amazing master gardener, a woman whose own child attended our school many years ago. She has been a gift to us, sharing her expertise on this and that vegetable, flower or herb.
One of our parents is an art student, who volunteered to design our garden logo for our t-shirts, and it came out better than anyone could have hoped.
Another dad, who works in the landscaping industry, had the soil tested and then surveyed and marked the grass for excavation by another local landscaper who wanted to help.
Our PTO president, whose family business is dirt, acquired a great mountain of arable composted clean loam for our six raised beds.
Our facilities manager gave us the go for water and composting and fencing and has been a key player in making it all work.

This weekend, we will gather to build our garden. I don't yet have lumber, wood chips, or weed fabric, but I have faith they will materialize.

For me, this is like the first sprout of a bean, popping out of the soil for its first bath in sunshine:
parents coming together to build a school garden I have tended all year long.