In March, we went out to assist Liberty Academy with a garden build. They were a lively group of students, led by a vibrant instructor named Ms. Richardson! It was a chilly morning, but we made it through. Thanks to lots of laughs, teamwork, and some music playing in the background. Right off, Ms. Richardson seemed to be an encouraging presence for her students at Liberty Academy, which was both inspiring and refreshing to witness!
Ms. Richardson has enjoyed leading the garden and has been eager to learn and plant more – picking up additional seeds, plants, and supplies for their schoolyard garden.
The Liberty Academy is a project-based alternative high school in the Liberty Public School District. With a diverse group of high-school students, we are always looking for new project-based ideas. With all the interest in sustainable living, sourcing food locally, and green jobs, a community garden seemed like a natural fit.
In short, the Liberty Academy students were responsible for planning and building the raised bed garden, filling the garden with dirt, planting the fruits and vegetables, tending to, and watering the garden, harvesting the fruits and vegetables, and using the harvested items in recipes for cooking projects. It has been a full-circle experience.
Over twenty-five students were involved in this project. And because of this full-circle impact, this project drew in students who might be inclined to focus more on art, cooking, or woodshop. This project had a little bit of all of it, so it drew students across interests. And this activity spurned similar activity for other locations, as some of the students built accessible garden areas within the public community garden in Liberty.
This garden project has also had a few other benefits. It has been a great way to supplement students’ school lunches with healthy food options. And it has encouraged students to try new fruits and vegetables. In fact, the garden is still producing food for students during the summer months.
“In addition, with the high visibility of this outdoor activity, the garden has increased community awareness of the Liberty Academy generally and community engagement with walkers in the area.” – Ms. Richardson