Three times a year we grant funds to FoodCorps alumni to help them accelerate their professional development, get started on a new project, or host a service event. One alumna, Margot Sands, put her grant funds to use by building a school garden at the elementary school where she now teaches. Here’s what she accomplished and learned along the way.
“Receiving this grant for a new school garden at Clarendon Elementary has become a launching point toward ambitious nutrition and food education plans. While it was a slow start due to a hectic first year of teaching, many stakeholders at my school combined forces to make this garden more than a reality and bigger than I could have even hoped for in the second half of the school year.
My principal has always had a secret dream and vision for a large school garden with an adjoining community garden for local families to utilize. This grant offered her the opportunity to resurface additional garden funds and connect my project to the nutrition department’s other dream of a certified school garden that could send produce to the cafeteria tables. The nutrition department even contributed a hefty sum to purchase bricks for the garden bed structures! Osborn School District’s maintenance staff has also been a major champion of this project in helping order bulk materials for building a larger sized garden than originally planned and assisting in the drip irrigation set up.
Students from my 5th grade class and after school garden club have also been a major driving force in the planning and building process of this garden! Their ideas and input have fueled the momentum of this project and have fostered their motivation and investment in caring for the garden once we add our soil and seeds.
I am so grateful for the training FoodCorps has provided me in coordination with this grant to allow me to organize and implement a new school garden in a community of high need and relevant cultural interests. It truly takes a village to grow food and accomplish a project like this. My experience with this grant at Clarendon illustrates how collaboration, cooperation, and patience are essential to success!
Thank You, FoodCorps!”