School Gardens & EATinG
The School Garden Initiative responds to the need for hands-on educational opportunities in schools, a gardening and nutrition connection for children and locally grown food for the community.
During the summer months, the gardens offer summer LEAF Camps (Learning Ecology & Alaskan Farming), the EATinG Program (Engaging Alaskan Teens in Gardening), and weekly Neighborhood Farm Stands at each garden. During the spring and fall, Calypso supports teachers in using the gardens as an extension of their classroom.
Due to COVID-19, LEAF Camps, EATinG, and the school garden farm stands will continue to be postponed until the summer of 2022. In the summer of 2021, we'll be launching the NEW Community Roots Program: a garden training program for young adults! Click here to learn more!
As we transition to this new phase of handling covid in our community, we've decided to hold all of our youth programming at the farm this year. We plan to resume school garden summer programs for youth in 2022. Here's what will be happening in each of the school gardens during the summer of 2021:
Hunter Elementary Garden: Due to structural issues at Hunter Elementary, our new Community Roots Program will not be taking place at the garden this season. Instead, we will be planting potatoes for the Hunter community, as well as cover crop for the soil.
Woodriver Elementary Garden: we will be planting a diverse cover crop in order to build nutrients in the soil for the season.
Pearl Creek Elementary Garden: Wild Seed Garden! We will be planting a cover crop for soil restoration as well as a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers particularly for seed production. Teachers and students will incorporate seed harvesting into their fall educational activities.
The EATinG Program (Engaging Alaskan Teens in Gardening) is a free summer program for youth aged 11-16. Student gardeners in the program are empowered to grow their own food through hands-on experience in the school gardens, learning the ins and outs of growing their own food, gain basic business skills through weekly markets, and build important life skills by working with a team of new friends!
During the month-long program, student gardeners experience a full range of gardening activities, including: bed preparation, seeding, transplanting, weeding, planting, harvesting and running a weekly Farm Stand. Student gardeners also cook and eat vegetables in the garden! Together with an adult EATinG Leader, student gardeners work as a team to care for the school garden, building valuable skills like positive communication, teamwork and reliability. Student gardeners earn Veggie Bucks each week to exchange for fresh veggies from the Farm Stand and other Calypso markets over the summer! This is a unique opportunity for preteens and teens to gain confidence, skills and new friends through the dynamic Alaskan gardening season!