We're working with several schools in Franklin County NC, and the Grow And Share program has been well received! The teachers will be using plants and seeds in their lessons, teaching how things grow, where food comes from, and more. Students will eat from the garden and share their harvest in their communities.
One of the school gardens is going to be created early in 2010. We'll be tilling up an area about 15 x 20 -- give or take a little. The children will grow food, have an end of year picnic, and give away some of what they grow to a local senior center. Grow And Share will provide the tillers, gas, and labor so that the school incurs no costs; just changes use of some of their lawn space!
The second school is actually working with us to put in four (4) raised gardens! A wonderful local company -- Old Castle Lawn And Garden -- provided 3-1/2 tons of organic garden soil!! This is some great, rich, dark soil and I think it will give the kids' seeds and plants a great start.
Future steps will include delivering the landscape timbers (once we get them and arrange delivery) and setting them up at this school.
By March, both of these schools should be ready to plant rich, educational, productive Spring gardens! Hopefully by the time school lets out they will have given away a nice supply of produce to families in their areas.
I especially wanted to write about these gardens because they are being provided to the schools at little to no cost. This leaves US tax dollars to go elsewhere!
Thanks to the donated soil (about $700 worth), a great discount on the timbers (approximately $50), donated seed from several local companies, and Grow And Share donated labor, these five (5) gardens will be created and planted for around $50 of Grow And Share out-of-nonprofit-pocket costs. (If this total changes for any reason, I’ll update it here.) We don’t expect the school to incur costs other than teachers’ time and students’ effort.
So, if your school wants to start a garden, don't let expected costs stop you! Check with local supply stores and you might find that the community will provide what you need for your students. Rather than waiting on a grant that might not be awarded, or fundraising, just ask local businesses to help. You might find that the garden will be low or no cost, and that you can grow food for your students and the community more easily than expected!