If you have a GARDEN and a LIBRARY you have everything you need….marcus tullius cicero
When fall arrives and the days are of a late summer warmth, it’s time to visit with the school-community garden folk! Last spring, Kid Scoop News shared a celebration of school gardens from Riverside Elementary, Mater Dei Nativity, and the Lawton-Bronson Elementary Schools. This year, we will be adding Spalding and Unity Elementary Schools to our mix!
Spalding Elementary is Nature’s Own!
In 2016 Spalding Elementary School was designated as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. One of only 73 selectees across the nation to receive this national recognition, Spalding is the select school in the Sioux City district that specifically works on reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of the students, providing environmental education and incorporating the STEM model through green pathways. Known for their incredible recycling program, Spalding has spent the last three years cultivating a community/school garden through the work of many special volunteers, students and teachers.
Mater Dei School Garden Teaches Garden to Table Concepts
Unfortunately, the school and community garden at Mater Dei was hit by Nature’s own. This summer Sioux City experienced one of those “once in a lifetime” storms where hailstones as big as golf balls hit the scene. The garden at 4243 Natalia Way was lost for the season. We will check in with teacher Andrea Bengford and gardener, Kristen Malenosky, head cook at Mater Dei to see how the new garden progresses this year.
In the past when talking with Kristen, you could see her excitement as she talked about any upcoming planting season, “We plan on doing green peppers again, and tomatoes (slicing, cherry, and grape), along with some herbs (parsley, oregano, and basil). Those are the things we can use the most during the school year, mostly for spaghetti sauces. Those are good things that can be dried or frozen to be used at any time during the year, and also have on hand for a fresh veggie when we have a good harvest!” Kristen is definitely a cheerleader for school and community gardens with Andrea promoting it through classroom and garden work.
“The Lord will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well- watered garden like an ever flowing spring.”
Mrs. Bengford, Mater Dei 6-8 English Teacher shared her insights with us last year...and we look forward to the new year and the new garden!
Riverside Elementary School Designs a Community Garden
Students at Riverside Elementary are anxiously counting the days for the 3rd Annual Farmer’s Market that will be held in September. Last year, several vendors and agencies were on hand to “sell” produce and items left over from a Wednesday downtown farmers’ market and were surprised at how excited and serious the students were about finding their produce treasures. Plans this year are to add vendors, tents, and experiences to the event.
One of Riverside’s strongest supporters and cheerleader is Laurie Taylor. Laurie is an Iowa Master Gardener and school district volunteer and she assists community volunteers and students with the gardening needs in the spring, summer and fall. At Riverside, individual classes care and plant specific garden sections. Throughout the school year and in the summer, careful planning is completed to assure the students of a bountiful crop! Students learn about science, nutrition, teamwork, math and the overall garden process.