The Orange and Black has a little shade of green as gardens planted at schools around the district this spring are starting to produce a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Above, student at School No. 10 planted their garden on May 31. Below, School No. 8 student planted their garden on June 18.
Most of the gardens are funded through grants from the Union County freeholders’ “Kids Dig In!” program. Several schools have been part of the program in past years, and Schools No. 8 and 10 joined this year. Representatives of the county visited to show students and staff how to plant and care for their gardens. The grant requires that 30 percent of the produce be donated to charity.
“We’re so pleased that our schools are able to benefit from this partnership with Union County to show students the positives of gardening,” said Acting Superintendent Denise Cleary. “They learn the science of what it takes to keep their plants healthy, the nutritional benefits of eating fresh produce, and a sense of community by sharing the fruits of the labor with others who need it. For many, this will be the first step of a lifelong love of gardening.”
The 21st Century Community Learning Center at Soehl Middle School installed a raised garden bed in a courtyard outside the cafeteria, along with tables and umbrellas where students were able to eat lunch during the school year.