A Recipe For Success

Serves: A whole community
1. A bunch of hyper elementary school kids.
2. Some enthusiastic teachers at that school
3. A sunny corner of the school yard
4. The food scraps from the cafeteria
5. The weekly yard debris from the school grounds
6. A bunch of different vegetable and fruit seed packets donated from the community
7. A garden hose.

First, take all of the food scraps and all of the yard debris generated by the students and faculty at your neighborhood elementary school and begin to pile it up in a nice sunny corner of the school, preferably one with a source of water and a location where you ultimately intend to have your school garden. Have the students take turns one a week flipping and turning that big pile and soon it will begin to resemble a nice rich pile of healthy compost.

Next, commandeer a section of that schoolyard where the compost pile is and label it as the new school garden, maybe name it after the school mascot or something. Get enough shovels for all of the students and have them take turns preparing the soil for the garden. Work the soil over nicely and add your compost. Section off the garden into smaller manageable plots. Once it begins to resemble a garden, let the children pick out what kinds of fruits and vegetables they want to grow.

This next step involves the whole community. This step requires the students to obtain all the seed packets they will need to grow a successful garden. They can do this by asking organic seed companies for donations, or by asking parents to donate seed packets, or even going door to door and asking for unused seed packets from neighbors.

Have the students plant the seeds in the garden, water them, and watch them grow into delicious fruits and vegetables which can be shared among themselves and the community.

Be sure to save seeds from the harvest so next years students can participate in the garden project.

Your results should resemble a bunch of happy, healthy students who learn about where their food comes from, how to make healthy soil from garbage, and how to share that knowledge with the community.

Repeat the process every year and enjoy!

It’s a great recipe and essentially anyone can master it. The catch is that while the ingredients are relatively straight forward, it requires the help on an entire community to prepare. By involving yourself in the community this recipe for success becomes much easier. In the world of the professional chef there is a saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth.” But there is another saying that “many hands make light work.” For the recipe above, I believe the latter saying holds true more than the former.

For more information log on to www.edibleschoolyard.org.

Posted by Charles Wilcox