Anacortes Middle School Garden and Greenhouse Project
Students at our middle school are learning how to care for a garden, and grow food for our community!
Project Leads: Warren Carr and Laurie Sherman
In late February of 2021, a group of Transition Fidalgo volunteers gathered at Gaia Rising Farm on Guemes Island. Our goal was to start 1400 spring vegetable plants to give away at the April Farmer’s Market. It was great fun! Together we mixed soil and organic amendments and created soil blocks to plant the heirloom (open-pollinated) seeds without the use of plastic pots or trays.
At the market event, the enthusiastic recipients of the starts were encouraged to try growing some of their own food. Although the majority of starts found a home, we had about 400 kale, spinach, and mesclun plants remaining, which we donated to the Anacortes Middle School (AMS) Garden-To-Kitchen (G-T-K) Program.
The Students Plant the Garden!
In mid-April of 2021, our group of volunteers worked with the kids to plant the starts and rejuvenate the garden, which had languished during the months in which remote learning kept them away. Our volunteers continued working in the garden through the summer so the returning students would have more to return to than just pulling weeds. It was fun for all and a huge success!
The kids developed lifelong skills for growing healthy and delicious produce. The students are also learning about generosity and community giving as we distributed excess produce to Transition Fidalgo’s “Share-the-Bounty” food stands, providing free food from June to October to those who need it.
Growing healthy, organic produce is not easy even in the best of times. Spring 2022 has been especially challenging with cool, wet conditions. But the students in the Garden-to-Kitchen program have worked really hard to get vegetables in the ground and look forward to showing it off.
The 10’x20’ greenhouse, donated this year by Transition Fidalgo (with additional funding by Anacortes Schools Foundation) has been put to use with flats of starts and pots of tomatoes.
Summer Volunteers Needed: From mid-June through August, we will need help with watering and harvesting (for the free Share-the-Bounty stands) with occasional planting & weeding. The time required is minimal and flexible based on your schedule. We would love your help while students are away! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Jody Dylan, the AMS G-T-K teacher, who also instructs Science/Technology/Engineering/Math (STEM), sees the benefit a greenhouse structure provides for both educational and production purposes. She and AMS principal Patrick Harrington understand the value of the kids participating in the entire food cycle, from early season germination to the preparation of healthy and delicious meals.
Our thanks to Ace Hardware for donating many items, including a way to set up potato cages. If you would like to become a volunteer for either the greenhouse project or the school garden or donate toward this project, please let us know.