Early this spring Kansas City International Academy (KCIA) middle school students, led by teacher Talia Halfon, began a conversation on community and creating community space. At the same time KCIA social worker, LaTeasha Randle, was interested in creating an opportunity for KCIA families to get fresh and healthy foods into their homes. These two ideas brought the middle school and Ms. Randle together with the idea of a schoolyard garden at KCIA.
Students began their process by proposing a garden layout to the school administration. The students researched types of gardens to construct as well as planned out what vegetables they would want to grow in the garden. The administration approved the students’ plan, and KCCG was brought in to give our advice.
KCIA is on a hill, and flat green space is limited. Ms. Randle and Ms. Halfon received approval to place a garden in a small courtyard near the playground.
In early May, 6th grade students spent an afternoon building four raised beds. Because of the school’s limited space the students had to terrace the garden. With help from KCIA’s custodian students pushed the wheelbarrows up a ramp onto the courtyard lawn. It was tough work, but they moved 5 cubic yards of soil without spilling one wheelbarrow!
The following week, students planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes, beans and peas, as well as herbs and pumpkins. The students will care for the vegetables throughout summer school, and plan to harvest the food to share with the entire school in the early fall.
Welcome to the Schoolyard Gardens program Kansas City International Academy! We’re excited to help you grow!