Rosehill Elementary Garden Club students expanded their gardens and planted an orchard, with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Subaward they were granted from The Giving Grove. Third through sixth grade Garden Club members worked alongside the Kansas City Community Garden team and volunteers from the city of Lenexa to plant their orchard.
The orchard consists of pear and jujube trees, and raspberry, blackberry and fig beds. The club also built two additional raised vegetable beds, one where they planted garlic.
Students worked very hard navigating wheel barrels and shovels as they dug holes, carried dirt, hay, and spread the mulch to plant the fruit trees and build the raised beds. For some students, this was the first time they had planted a garden or used these tools.
“The gardens have become an outlet for all students to join together in a common bond. This has become an area they have been able to work together,” Meghan Spalding, third grade teacher shared. “It has given students who have never been exposed to a garden, a wonderful opportunity.”
Garden Club students understand their obligation to the orchard is a long-term commitment. They will water and weed daily, commit to weekly maintenance, and harvest. The Garden Club meets before school and over the summer. With their summer harvest they made pesto and red sauce and shared with their families and teachers.
Through her excitement, third grader, Brooklyn Crawford shared the process of preparing and planting the raised gardens, adding that she is excited to watch the fruits and vegetables grow. Allison Siemke, third grader, had a hand in planting the fruit trees and shared the necessary steps she learned when planting a fruit tree. Allison is excited for harvest time and sharing with students, teachers, and community.
The student Garden Club is sponsored by Meghan Spalding, and Becca Smysor, fifth grade teacher. Their hope is for each grade level to have their own garden.
The Giving Grove’s goal is to achieve greater food security and connects children to nature and early exposure to healthy food choices.