The school garden education program is one of NCPs latest initiatives in the Harrisonburg community. We believe that garden education — as a basis for healthy eating and sustainable life-habits — has a vital place in schools. Beginning in April of 2009, NCP teamed up with local public school Linville Edom Elementary to implement a student-friendly garden created, maintained and harvested by the students, teachers and families themselves. New Community Project worked hand-in-hand with administration and teachers to design a garden integrated into the play-spaces on the school grounds in an attempt to increase the sense of wonder and enthusiasm students feel toward the “outdoor classroom” environment. Before students left school for summer break in early June, each class enjoyed the “vegetables” of their labor as they ate a salad made from 3 varieties of lettuce, radishes and Nasturtium buds freshly picked from their school garden.
The 2010-2011 school year brought NCP’s School Garden Program to Eastern Mennonite Elementary School. Students at EMES recieve weekly garden classes based around topics such as garden design, composting, soil composition and food appreciation. Other exciting events have included a visit from “Peppers” the rabbit in his composting rabbit hutch and the building of a 30” X 12” greenhouse just outside the classrooms. In the coming months students will sheet-mulch future garden beds, explore the beauty of cultivated and uncultivated spaces and dialogue with local farmer friends, and then — come spring — put all their knowledge to use as they break ground and plant in new school garden beds.
New Community Project’s School Garden Program is excited to continue work with other Harrisonburg area schools.