by Rachel Foster
“Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in a garden.” An impressive show of hands. “Raise your hand if you have a garden at home.” Not bad — this is Eugene, after all.
The questioner is Jenny Laxton, program coordinator for the School Garden Project (SGP) of Lane County. For this 4th grade class at Cesar Chavez Elementary, it’s their very first garden session, and Laxton is about to lay out some garden rules before we go outside: no running; don’t walk on the beds; ask before you taste something; and don’t poke people with the tools. Cesar Chavez is one of twelve schools working with SGP’s garden-based education program this year. Laxton and her assistants will meet with each participating class twice a month through fall and spring.