I’m back, with stories to tell.
In fact, one of my first stories is one I’ve been keeping close since May, and now I can finally let it out to all of you good readers. IT IS SO EXCITING I WILL HAVE TO REFRAIN FROM WRITING THE ENTIRE POST IN ALL CAPS, but I will try.
But first….what I did on my summer vacation, garden-wise.
In July the school garden committee of Master Gardeners was treated to a tour of the garden at Paul Ecke Elementary in Encinitas, with Mr. Hank as tour guide.
Their outdoor “cooking lab” has an underground drain which waters the baby citrus tree to the left.
Water plants, not friends—apparently a school garden universal.
A neat application of the painted rock concept.
I like seeing other garden educator’s tricks of the trade. Here Mr. Hank has made a device in which he can arrange the tools needed that day and kids can quickly choose from that limited supply instead of sorting through the shed.
A rain chain adds a grace note to this rainwater cistern.
Pallets set on their sides create the stage for a lesson on vertical gardens.
In the boxes below, veggies are planted by color to emphasize the principle above.
School as garden—here citrus plants, herbs and ornamentals enhance another building’s facade across campus.
Even little flower gardens enliven a school campus as they create habitat.
The same day I visited the ambitious 1-acre farm project on the campus of Ocean Knoll in Encinitas, a vision steered by two women/parents who lead the non-profit organization Healthy Day Partners. They are building raised beds, compost bins, and tool sheds with a view to supplying the salad bars in the district’s nine elementary schools. As a food justice project, fruit trees are being planted along the street side of the property, purposely planted to hang over the fence so that fruit is available to any neighbor passing by.
As part of their school’s international focus, the upper elementary students built this greenhouse with “eco-bricks”—discarded plastic bottles filled with inorganic trash. Schools in Latin America have been built with this simple technology, and the Encinitas kids worked through the organization Hug it Forward to help fundraise for one such project in Guatemela, later skyping with the Central American students about their shared experiences.
A beautiful multi-purpose stage for activities from yoga to outdoor meals stretches along one side of the garden. Stumps arranged around the platform create a perfect performance area as well.
Good reminder that rural, suburban, urban—we all got our critters to exclude.
This is a team, and a district, with a lot of vision, and I look forward to following–and celebrating–their progress!