School Gardens Still Growing Strong
By Carol Earnest
Back in February, students from Orleans and Somes Bar planted peas, carrots, broccoli, and lettuce, among other things, in their school garden spaces. MKWC Community & Stewardship Program staff, partners, and volunteers, led students through the planning, planting, and tending of these seeds and seedlings, with the promise that their efforts would result in sweet peas, crisp lettuce, and crunchy carrots.
In March, schools closed and the promise of a future garden harvest suddenly felt uncertain. Fortunately, MKWC staff and volunteers, in coordination with the schools, were able to return to the gardens, following new COVID-19 safety procedures, and got to work. They harvested over 15 pounds of sugar snap peas, 30 heads of lettuce, and 10 pounds of broccoli, all which was delivered to local schoolkids through the lunch distribution program. “My kids love the peas!” one parent exclaimed when stopping by the garden in Orleans. A local teacher took a virtual tour of one of the garden spaces with her class, where her students saw the peas that they planted from seed, towering 10 feet high. “Remember when we planted those?”
In the face of uncertainty, plants continue to grow, flower, and fruit, as long as there is someone to tend them (and sometimes even when there is not). They become more than a source of nutrition, they are a symbol of resilience, a place of connection in a time when we need it the most.
As the heat rolls in and the peas and lettuce wrap up for the season, focus is shifting to the tomatoes, sugar pie pumpkins, beans, and basil, and we look forward to finding creative and safe ways to get this fresh produce to local families and food programs this summer.
MKWC is just one part of a larger group of organizations and people devoted to school garden programs in the Mid Klamath. We send a heartfelt thank you to the partners, schools, and volunteers that have made these garden spaces possible over the years, from pounding t-posts, putting up fences, delivering compost, organizing fundraisers, tilling beds, donating plants, and so much more.
Orleans School Garden. From left to right: garlic, pumpkins, peas.
This project is partially funded by the EPA Environmental Education Grant program.
Carol Earnest is MKWC’s Associate Director and Community & Stewardship Program Director.