We are fortunate enough to have an Alki parent who submitted a grant request on behalf of our Alki Garden. We are currently awaiting approval for the requested funds, but in the meantime, here is some information on what was requested by Robin Thaler (thanks Robin!).
Short Term Goals
The garden is moving from an early focus as “The First Grade Garden” to serve the entire school as the “Alki Learning Garden.” We are increasing our volunteer network and providing the framework to support this expansion. An herb garden is planned that will grow herbs that reflect the cultural diversity of our school. A native edibles garden is planned that will showcase foods that we can all harvest in our own backyards and adjacent wild spaces. We will send three people to our local Seattle Tilth Program for garden educators. We will purchase two picnic tables so that an entire class can sit comfortably together to eat and learn. Purchase of additional supplies will allow for growing more food and easier garden maintenance.
Teaching Healthy Eating Habits and Sustainable Gardening Practices
Students will engage in the garden by planting seeds and seedlings, weeding, harvesting edibles, and preparing and eating fresh foods. Learning topics will include:
• how food waste in their lunchroom is converted the compost we use to grow food
• the cyclical process of seeds to fruit to flower and then again generating new seeds
• how we can utilize the whole plant, much more is edible then we typically consume
• how can we encourage a diverse ecosystem that organically manages the organisms harmful to growing food
• how does our climate affect what we can grow locally and how does that affect sustainable food choices
Food not consumed will be donated to our local food bank.
Long Term Vision
• Based on feedback after this year’s expansion we will add planters and resources to our garden.
• Grow more food to donate to our local food bank.
• Build an onsite compost program so that kids can see firsthand how their food breaks down into the soil that grows their next harvest.
• Research onsite rainwater harvesting options.
Our principal, teachers and a dedicated and growing group of parent and community volunteers are supportive of our garden vision. I plan on continuing my work as garden coordinator and am partnering in interested volunteers who will be able to lighten my load as the program moves ahead. We will consider partnering with the PTA in the new year to access addition support resources.