City Green is Greening the City

City Green is a non-profit community garden organization currently working in Paterson, New Jersey.  Their “City Sprouts” program addresses the need for in school and after-school enrichment in the Paterson Public Schools, educating children on the environment, nutrition, and how to grow fresh healthy food. This following is an overview of City Green’s programs for the current school year.

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The School 9 Cougars Go Green club, along with clubs in Schools 12 and 16 are in their second year of Environmental Club programming. School 7 begins its third year with science teacher Marla Arrington directing. All the clubs are supported throughout the year by City Green’s staff and materials.

This year the school programming reaches ten schools, and all ten club directors have received the newly developed City Green Environmental Club Manual, called “Make a Difference”, which contains guidelines and instructions for a full year of programming.  The teams have begun recruiting club members and making plans for the year.

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Using the manual instructions, each club will begin or expand a recycling program at their school. They will raise awareness with a recycling contest and school-wide recycling projects.  Thanks to their awareness campaigns and elbow grease, many tons of paper will be diverted from the waste stream.

Several schools are making plans to work with City Green to  begin a Garden Club using the green space around their school, and on adjoining lots. Gardens will be planned in the fall and installed in the spring. City Green provides consultations, resources and curriculum support to help make their school garden an effective hands-on learning tool.

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With energetic and talented teachers of the Paterson school district and enthusiastic youngsters, the City Green programs provide the tools to empower Paterson’s young men and women to take action and Make a Difference!  And in the words of a School 9 Cougars Go Green gal, “[They] plan to save the planet!”

For more information about City Green please contact executive director, Jennifer Papa, info@citygreen.org, or visit their website at www.citygreenonline.org

School Gardens in the News

1) Chipley, FL
Chipley Garden Club Members Help Students Plant Terrariums

Members of the Chipley Garden Club once again visited Kate Smith Elementary School this week in preparation for the 2010 Youth Fair to be held in Washington County.
Previously the garden club members handed out live plants to be grown by the students, but this week they were on hand to help students prepare and plant their own terrariums that will later be entered in the Youth Fair.

2) Wilmington, NC
Alderman Elementary students install rain garden

Alderman Elementary third graders stepped outside the classroom Monday morning to learn about the environment. Volunteers from Wal-Mart and the PTA gave students a hand installing a 2,500 square foot rain garden.
The garden was placed near the entrance of the school to catch and treat rain water from the schools roof and parking lot. Students learned what it takes to make a rain garden.

3) Tampa, FL
Volunteers build reading garden at Tampa’s DeSoto Elementary School

Jalissa Stanley vigorously sanded a bench as her classmates and other volunteers planted flowers, placed pavers and built a pond in a grassy courtyard at DeSoto Elementary School on Saturday.
Jalissa, a third-grader, said she looks forward to bringing books out to the new reading garden that was built in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

4) Yakima, WA
They like to talk garden at McClure Elementary

It isn’t difficult to get kids at Yakima’s McClure Elementary School to talk about their garden.
In fact, schoolchildren recently had so much to say about their nationally certified Schoolyard Habitat that there just wasn’t room to include all their ideas in a story, set to be published Saturday in the Yakima Herald-Republic and at yakimaherald.com.

5) Baltimore, MD
At farm run by Baltimore city schools, they’re planting veggies. . .and ideas

About 15 miles from their campus near the tattered corner of Belair Road and Erdman Avenue, fifth graders from The Green School wandered across 33-acres of farmland and marveled at the city’s newest classroom.
It was a field trip to Great Kids Farm, a key component of the Baltimore city school system’s push to provide fresh fruits and vegetables that students can eat at lunch and appreciate for a lifetime.

6) Silver Spring, MD
Student bee detectives use garden as ‘living laboratory’

There’s a buzz at Saint John the Baptist Catholic School about a new garden that’s helping students understand plant biology, gardening and bee pollination patterns. Full of lavender plants, marigolds and, of course, plenty of bees, young students are getting an early start in biology as they observe the insects and how plants grow.

School Garden Preparation – Dorsey High School

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Preparing a garden bed for seed sowing is a difficult task, in fact it is the most difficult task we’ll perform in the garden all year. Over the summer, weeds grows unfettered, plants die, and the soil is depleted of nutrition.

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All those planting beds need to be cleared and amended.

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Thankfully, at Dorsey High School, we had a few students show up for garden work on a Saturday and they did a fabulous job.

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For approximately two and a half hours students weeded, removed bermuda grass, old plants, and completed some seriously needed site prep work.

See video, How to Amend a Raised Bed, to view the process of adding amendments (preferably organic compost) and turning (or aerating) the soil.

School Gardens in the News

1) Nashville, TN
Nashville school gardens get kids outdoors

The three Eakin Elementary students pulled and tugged until they glimpsed the top of the orange vegetable. “I think I can get it,” they took turns saying. After much effort, their eyes grew big when they finally saw the carrot and its roots. “Can we eat it?” they all asked simultaneously.

2) Moraga, CA
Garden helps Moraga students grow

It’s a typical math lesson in a not-so-typical classroom.
“How many cups in a quart?” Alice Noyes asked more than a dozen fifth-graders sitting outside on a sunny Friday morning.
“Four,” replied Ethan Valencia, who was then dispatched to mix 2 quarts of water with 1 quart of salt to make a mixture for seasoning seeds from sunflowers planted by students last year.
Welcome to the Rheem Elementary School garden.

3) Baltimore, MD
Baltimore schools go vegetarian one day a week

When the assistant White House chef Sam Kass visited a Baltimore school last week for lunch, he was treated to vegetarian eggplant dip that the students had made with vegetables and herbs from their own organic school garden.
It’s all part of an effort by the Baltimore school system to introduce children to healthier and more sustainable foods. In pursuit of that goal, lunches are now vegetarian every Monday in school cafeterias across the city.

4) Brooklyn, NY
Little Green Thumbs

One of my fondest grade-school memories involves a sweet potato, toothpicks, and a glass of water. There was something magical about watching as a tangle of roots first appeared in the water, followed by leafy tendrils that spilled over the glass and then extended wildly across the kitchen windowsill.

5) Palm Springs, CA
Schools take the lead in teaching students how to live a healthy life

Childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed nationally, tripling in less than 30 years. It is a serious problem that endangers students’ health and taxes the medical system.

Scarecrows in the Garden

"Go Skatecrow Go!" by students at Fayette Middle School

"Go Skatecrow Go!" by students at Fayette Middle School

Scarecrows in a school garden is a fun activity. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is currently exhibiting its annual “Scaregrows in the Garden”. See link for pics and ideas.

Target Field Trip Grants Program

Deadline: Nov. 3, 2009

As part of the Target commitment to supporting education, Target Field Trip Grants program will award 5,000 grants of up to $800 each to U.S. educators to fund a field trip for their students. Target Field Trip Grants may be used to fund trips ranging from visits to art museums and environmental projects to cultural events and civic experiences. Education professionals who are at least 18 years old and employed by an accredited K-12 public, private or charter school in the United States that maintains a 501(c)(3) or 509(a)(1) tax-exempt status are eligible to apply. For more information, and to apply, visit target.com.

Starting from Seed

The vegetables we grow are mostly annuals. They start from seed, flower,
and end as seeds all within a defined year. That’s their life cycle.

Bolted Lettuce

Bolted Lettuce

Save some seeds this year.  The easiest are cilantro and lettuce.
We also do arugula, fennel, marigolds, beans and sunflowers.
See Starting from Seed for more instructional material.

marigold

Marigold Seeds