Earlier this week, the sixth grade members of the Spring Creek Afterschool Program@ P.S. 346 visited the Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) with one thought in mind, harvesting crops they grew for their first ever Farmer’s Market.
On Wednesday afternoon, a table loaded with the fresh, organic vegetables they harvested was set up in P.S. 346’s lunchroom – and the market was opened. As parents came to pick up their children from the program, the young urban gardeners directed them to vegetables which were free for the taking. Choosing from healthy looking carrots, sweet peppers, butter crunch lettuce, radish, collard greens, kale and tomatoes, the parents were amazed to see how well their children had done as gardeners. “The kids were proud and excited about distributing their vegetables, and the parents were more than happy to take the food home,” said Jeremy Williams, Director of the Spring Creek Afterschool Program@P.S. 346.
Parents who picked up their children after regular school dismissal also took home fresh vegetables from the UGC’s Farmer’s Market operated by the afterschool program’s fifth graders who also worked in the garden.
Throughout the gardening season and under the guidance of environmental educator Randy Cameron, Jr., young people attending Spring Creek Towers’ community schools and programs visited the UGC on Louisiana Avenue, where they learned how to prepare soil for planting, planted and nurtured seeds that grew into vegetables, herbs and ornamental flowers. Cameron says it is great working with the young people, “They are really curious about things and into science. I’m often impressed by what they know and remember.”
The Spring Creek Recreational Fund (SCRF) created the garden for use by local schoolchildren (kindergarten – eighth grade) to enrich their in-school natural science education. Since 2012, they have gotten their hands dirty and witnessed the wonders of Mother Nature as they learned how a garden grows.
Last year’s fall harvest of salad crops was prepared by the afterschool program’s gardeners and their counselors, and then served to parents and fellow schoolmates at the Spring Creek Afterschool Program “Lights On After School” celebration.
By Agnes E. Green
Photos Agnes E. Green