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Elementary School Garden

 
Marianne Cicala
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Location: south central VA 7B
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I was asked to do a garden for the local elementary school. It's been an interesting exercise considering running kids, short reach abilities, special needs kids with walkers and wheelchairs and "prettying up" the area which abuts the pick up location.
The greatest part of this so far is that the walls came down, between the local conventional/industrial farmers that do not appreciate how our farm operates aka hippy kind of stuff

I had to present to the school board, which includes 3 (out of 7) members of the tobacco & canola growers. They approved the garden, but announced there was no money. I put up a "Blooming Jar" at our garden center and it blew my mind how quickly people would drop in a few bucks. We also had a sign up sheet for volunteers etc and that filled up very quickly.

Today the area was tilled and permanent walkways and planting beds went in. The town donated a dump truck load of mulch for walkways and another guy spent the day tilling and shoveling without giving me too much grief about "perma-crap". On Sunday, 25 local people will be joining us to install all of the fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs and perennials. Next week, the kids are planting onions, garlic and seeds.
I love how when kids can be the perfect bridge between differences. The locals still think I'm nuts and no-till, permaculture approaches are a fad. BUT I'm still here


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Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Taking down walls, one permie brick at a time ! You go Marianne !
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 660
Location: south central VA 7B
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Thanks Miles - I'm doing my best to keep swinging~~~~
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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It's a lovely design!
 
Shaz Jameson
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Location: Hilversum, Netherlands, urban, zone 7
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This looks great!

We have a small garden at one of local elementary schools, and there is an elevated gardening space that runs all along the playground. It's full of herbs, and you really see the kids learning through touch, taste... There's also a space for a sunflower growing contest - which classes' sunflower grows the highest?

Keep up the great work!
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 660
Location: south central VA 7B
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Done & done. A little Sunday afternoon undercover permie install.
On Friday the kids will seed and plant garlic in the un-mulched areas.
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Brad D'Amico
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It was an absolute pleasure to have taken an incredibly small part in this. Hats off to Marianne for getting this done.

It is important to note just how solidified the "conventional" frame of thinking is ingrained in this locale. People here, generally speaking, do not embrace change or new ideas with open arms. The fact that Marianne was able to get this in the dirt is commendable beyond words.

I took a few pics, too. Hope you don't mind Marianne

 
Marianne Cicala
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Posts: 660
Location: south central VA 7B
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I love having you as a friend and fellow partner is crime Brad!! thanks for always lending a hand~
 
Zach Hurley
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Location: South Georgia Zone 8b
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Hey! This is awesome! I teach middle school and find it difficult to talk to people in the education and permaculture world. Where in the country are y'all? I'm in the Deep South. I've had trouble finding k-12 sites to learn from. Any connections would be appreciated!
 
Marianne Cicala
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Posts: 660
Location: south central VA 7B
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Hey Zach -
I'm in southern VA, close to the NC boarder. Big conventional/industrial ag country. The south hasn't gotten on board much yet and cannot understand that gardens can be grown without tilling and the ever present sevin dust. Slowly but surely.....
I'm always happy to help in anyway!
M.
 
Zach Hurley
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Location: South Georgia Zone 8b
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Ok. I guess someone's got to be the first wave. Might as well be us.

We've been working on a food forest at my school. Here is the blog I started recently. Hopefully, we'll add more to it in the upcoming weeks. Thanks for what you do!
 
Marianne Cicala
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Location: south central VA 7B
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Seems only appropriate to give this teacher and apple! Thanks Zach - that's a really great blog you and the kids are doing. Keep rocking~
 
Marianne Cicala
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Posts: 660
Location: south central VA 7B
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Zach,
Just wanted to make sure that you were aware of the education threads - I know plenty of folks there would love to see your school blog.
http://permies.com/forums/f-166/education
M
 
Marianne Cicala
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Location: south central VA 7B
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I had a wonderful time y'day playing with the kids getting in garlic & onions and topping those beds with kale, mustard and other greens. Playing in the dirt makes for a great afternoon!
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Raine Hogan
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Location: Salt Lake City
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Hey that's great stull y'all are doing.
Since winter is starting to set in, check with Dr. Nate Story at Bright Agrotech, he does aquaponics and his wife has tons of info for integrating into the classroom and tieing it to core curriculum. His stuff is based on vertical aquaponics which could be accesible to different heights and special considerations.

Also, for ADA compliance for kids with special needs (walkers and wheelchairs) you might want to build grow tables out of heat treated pallets that have closed bottoms and sides to hold the dirt. That way, they can participate while seated and feel like their part of the whole. Indoor worm bins in the classroom can be the new pet, with benefits, while teaching about composting, biological and environmental systems, and synergy.

Sorry, a topic close to my heart as I was going to school and working for 2 school districts before being disabled by a drunk driver.

Oh and check with community garden organizations about school garden projects and funding. Wasatch Community Gardens in Salt Lake City put out a book a couple of years ago that addressed this issue. Don't know if its still available.

It never hurts to ask, cause you lose nothing if they say no, and you win when they say yes. Hey does that make it a win when?
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 660
Location: south central VA 7B
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Thanks Raine!
The corners of the "keyholes" have raised beds that are being build as we speak by the HS shop class. 1 of the things that I've done to accommodate these special kids, other than round pathways so they experience the entire garden, is to place berry bushes along the edges to they can munch away on those as well.
Your perspective, unfortunately, is so very appreciated....please keep your ideas coming! I will reach out to Dr. Story today - thank you!!!
Marianne
 
Susan Wakeman
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Location: Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Europe
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The biggest hit with the kids visiting our school/community garden is yellow rasberries, they get to pick them as a "reward" for their work! Berry bushes and strawberries are definitely a must in a school garden!
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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