October is farm to school month which recognizes the importance of having fresh fruits and vegetables and, in turn, supporting local farms. The aim of The Edible Schoolyard Project is to use outdoor and greenhouse agricultural gardening for the classroom and community as a means for education. In school, cross-curricular education as well as adult education can offer local families with tools to help them produce their own food, learn about local food networks, and provide educational opportunities including nutrition and healthy lifestyles. For the past 10 years, Boulder Elementary School’s 21st century afterschool and summer school programs have used gardening as a means to educate our students and community.
Boulder’s 21st century garden program started as a service project to help local elders with their gardens. The program has flourished and includes year-round garden education allowing students to follow the garden in a full circle.
During the afterschool program, the youth plan and prepare the garden beds then plant seeds indoors in spring. The students transplant seedlings, care for the garden, and harvest throughout the 8-week Summer Program. Harvesting and preserving continues into the fall. A fall harvest festival follows to celebrate the successes of the year. Through programming, students have the opportunity to learn how to prepare and preserve the fresh produce from the gardens during the summer and afterschool programs.