Despite this week’s heat, the Schoolyard Gardens team helped teachers and students build 4 raised garden beds at Olathe’s Santa Fe Trail Middle School. The July 11 construction took about an hour thanks to the help of the school’s football team, which took a break from their practice to come help shovel soil.
Karla Laffoon, who teaches cooking, Beth Noland, who teaches Physical Education and Sara Riedesel, who teaches science all teamed up to coordinate the garden construction, and will have their students help maintain the beds throughout the school year.
“There’s the health aspect, the cooking aspect, and the actual growing of the vegetables science aspect all coming together,” said Riedesel.
Laffoon will be using the produce in her cooking classes, which focus heavily on vegetables and fruit, and is excited to also incorporate herbs from the garden into her cooking demonstrations.
The teachers received overwhelming support from the school’s administration to put in the garden. During our first site visit, the area where the garden was going had no water source and the teachers discussed having a rain barrel donated to the school. But when we arrived for our construction on Tuesday, we saw that the school added a brand new spigot and hose right next to the garden area!
Riedesel used to teach at Ridgeview Elementary, which has had a thriving Schoolyard Garden for several years. Santa Fe Middle teachers are excited to get growing once the school year starts, and hope to eventually get the community involved as well.
“When Karla was looking for teachers to help out with the garden, I thought ‘Oh, Ridgeview loved it,’ so I wanted to help out here, too,” Riedesel said. “And I love that the beds are outside of the school building [as opposed to inside the courtyard] because it invites the community to take part as well.”