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Waldorf School of Cape Cod has had an organic gardening program for the middle school age to grow food. Three years or so ago the school produced a 2 pound carrot, and the program has only gotten better since then. Now they have an unheated hoop house, and the middle school age show first through fifth grades all the steps to grow the food. The school even serves this organically grown food for lunch.
Since the gardening still needs tending to during the summer, they have families that volunteer to work at the garden. When the families meet to tend the garden they hold a potluck.
“The 24 by 48 feet hoop house is the heart of our gardening program.” said Kim Allsup. The hoop house serves as indoor gardening classroom. Since it is unheated during the cold months carrots, kale and spinach are grown. The temperature is around the 20’s and in the hoop house gets up in the 60’s. Even though the nights are cold, and the days are short the soil is kept from freezing. During the Spring a considerable amount of food can be grown. Strawberries, bushels of spinach and baby kale, lots of chives and parsley and snow peas to name a few. Since it does get so warm during the summer the plastic top is removed and stored away from the colder months.
Since they do have so many students in the classroom only half of the hoop house has plants. The third graders get to be in charge of taking lunch scraps and putting it into the turning compost. The children just love working in the garden that during recess they will come spend time gazing at the plants.
Do you think gardening should be taught in your local school? Putting gardening in school it helps children make good food choices, learn about botany, understanding of where food comes from and the work it takes to make it, and so much more.