PHC and CHC (Creating Healthy Communities) have taken their efforts to communities in the Elgin School District. In addition, a grant will help expand the bed spaces at two Marion City Schools elementary buildings.
In the past garden seasons, we have seen much success with the gardens within the city of Marion. Now that they are “sprouting off to a good start” we decided to leave the nest and expand our efforts.
Ashely Ault, Elgin Agriculture Instructor, has been a great asset for the Elgin garden initiative. There will be 5 different garden site locations, in and around the Elgin district including: Green Camp, LaRue, New Bloomington, Elgin’s old school site, and at Elgin Elementary School for a total of 23 raised beds!
Future Farmers of America students will be assisting with the gardens and the care taking of the gardens once they are in place. FFA students will also work to receive work study hours/ community service hours aiding as assistant garden coordinators.
Two elementary schools in Marion City received a grant for $2,000 from the Whole Kids Foundation to expand and enhance the existing garden space. Benjamin Harrison Elementary will add an additional 10 beds, for a total of 12 beds on site. Both George Washington Elementary and Harrison will enhance their garden space in efforts to turn it into an outdoor classroom.
Teachers can use this outdoor classroom for everything from soil testing, to taste testing new vegetables and making their own smoothies. Different beds can be planted around a specific culinary theme such as “the pizza bed” or “the smoothie bed” or “the salsa bed.” Harvest day celebrations could center around students making their own pizza and salads from the produce they grown in their very own garden.
Further plans include the installation of rain barrels and composting bins.