By BROOKE SHUNATONA
Parkade students planned to add potted plants to the soil of others such as lettuce, green beans, mustard greens, radishes, beets and Swiss chard planted from seeds last Tuesday, Aug. 24.
Each class at the elementary school has been assigned a row to maintain, and with the start of preschool classes Monday, Aug. 30, come new rows full of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
What began as a hopeful idea for Parkade families grew into an opportunity for young students to learn valuable work ethic while introducing new vegetables into their diets. Amy Larson, PTA president of Parkade Elementary, implemented the idea with the help of the Columbia Garden Coalition and Parkade students.
“The kids will be learning everything from bacteria to planting,” Larson said. “They may not totally know all of it, but we’ll incorporate as much learning as we can.”
With the help of Karen Birk, friend of Larson and master gardener, an ideal selection of plants were chosen to flourish over the cool autumn weather.
“We’ll be finished at first hard freeze in late October, but we’ll start up again in April,” Birk said.
If all goes well with the first round of the new garden, Larson hopes to double the size next spring. The increase in vegetables will add to the variety of foods sent home with the kids from low-income families over weekends and breaks through the “buddy pack” program.
“To me, it’s the most important part of doing this,” Birk said about the program. “Because kids are learning to give to other kids.”
Not only are the students eager to maintain the garden, but they’re also excited about the new, healthy addition to their buddy pack backpacks.
“It’s surprising. You always hear that kids don’t like vegetables, but I think that’s kind of a myth,” said Mary Carroll, Parkade counselor and an organizer of the buddy pack system. “I think their favorite is still beef jerky, though.”
If you’re interested in getting involved with local gardens, visit: