Our next school spotlight is North Kansas City High School in KCMO just north of the river. It’s been a pleasure working with Industrial Tech teacher Stephen Wagner since July 2021. Mr. Wagner started the high school’s garden club “Growing Northtown” which consists of about 30 students and 10 teachers. Students designed and built the six raised beds in the courtyard and just recently added 3 more to their beautiful outdoor classroom space.
I asked Mr. Wagner to talk more about his experience gardening at North Kansas City High School and this is what he had to say:
The mission of the North Kansas City High School Garden is to promote hands-on learning, healthy habits, and a connection to nature by pioneering new growth throughout our school community. Students will have the opportunity to get outside, dig in the dirt, learn about how food is grown and harvested.
The idea for a garden started to grow in my mind as the pandemic began and I was witnessing our students becoming more withdrawn and retreating into their virtual worlds. I have more enthusiasm than experience when it comes to gardening, so I turned to Kansas City Community Garden for assistance, and they have been amazing partners.
The Garden has become a place where students can contribute to and connect with the local and school community; creating a sustainable, self-supporting program where they can benefit now and into the future; to increase access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables and for students to reap not only academic benefits of a garden, but social emotional ones as well.
I appreciate all the hard work and time Mr. Wagner dedicates to the garden and I look forward to hearing about “Growing Northtown” next gardening endeavors.