I popped in recently for a quick visit with our friends at Fickett Elementary. Principal Twyman is always bursting with new ideas and she was excited to show me one of the newest additions to the school, a learning garden!
Fickett is the recipient of a Captain Planet Learning Garden grant as well as a Strong for Life grant, both of which focus on healthy living. From the hallway near the main office, I looked out onto their courtyard and saw what appeared to be the beginnings of a small garden. As we opened the doors to go outside, I noticed three raised flower beds with greenery. I took a closer look and noticed the greenery was not bare, but had tomatoes growing on the vine. Some reddish in color, almost ready to eat. I couldn’t help myself, they looked so good. I decided to pull one and give it a “taste”. I was pleasantly surprised that cherry tomatoes were so tasty (sweet and tangy)….so mmm mmm good that I decided eat more than one.
A class entered the courtyard, and Principal Twyman wanted the students to show me all of the hidden gems in the garden. As the children arrived, they pointed out the basil, thyme, and other herbs. They were all excited and talking at once. Everyone had something they wanted to share. One student pulled a tomato for me to eat, while another student lifted a watermelon from the vine. We had a blast! Pulling and eating the vegetables right on the spot! One student asked, as he was pointing to bushy greenery, “What’s that growing right there?” His classmate replied, “Those are carrots!” But the student still couldn’t see what was growing under the soil…so we pulled a carrot up to show him. “What’s all of that white stuff covering the carrot,” he asked. I told him it was the carrot’s roots and that the roots allow the carrot to receive water and nutrients to continue growing. “Oh,” he exclaimed.
Right there, in a little less than a minute… learning was happening in the outside classroom garden.
We collected our garden gems, including the watermelon, and placed them with my Fickett backpack for me to share with others.
The mint I pulled will add that “spa like” touch to a cool glass of water. I plan to take my watermelon and set it up to ripen so that I can cut it and share with staff. Finally, my carrot didn’t make it out the building because an “old friend” stopped by to see me before I departed off to my next school visit.
Carlos is a fourth grader I met last school year during another great visit to Fickett. He heard that I might stop by during the week, so he asked the principal if it was possible for him to say hi to me before I left. Ms. Twyman called him down as I was about to leave and I showed off the garden goodies that I was taking with me to my office. As I pulled out the carrot he asked if he could share it with me, and like the tomato that I had earlier, the carrot did not disappoint. Both Carlos and I agreed that it was great.
Thanks Fickett Elementary for giving our students healthy food and a focus on healthy living. Keep up the good work on the garden and let me know when you are ready for your next big harvest.