Organization: Acworth Intermediate School
Acworth Intermediate School has a vision to create a garden with seven raised beds of varying measurements. The school will organize the multiple plots around different garden themes to emphasize lessons in a variety of academic subjects like math, science, social studies, history and literature. A working list of the garden plot varieties currently includes the following: Pizza Garden, Sensory Garden, Math Garden, Pollinator Garden and “Three Sisters Garden.” The “Three Sisters Garden” will celebrate the gardening heritage of Native Americans.
The garden project will also include a compost area where students will have the opportunity to learn the importance of creating natural soil without the use of chemical products. Vermicomposting is another composting method the school will use to demonstrate how sustainable, nutrient-rich soil is formed. By allowing students to harvest worm castings for use in the garden, they will see firsthand how nutrients naturally return to the soil. By reusing materials in the garden, the students will learn the importance of becoming good stewards of the planet.
By implementing their garden project, Acworth’s most important goal is to increase student knowledge about the benefits of consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. In a study by McAleese and Rankin (2007), students involved in a garden-based nutrition education program increased their fruit consumption by 1.13 servings per day and vegetable consumption by 1.44 servings. The school believes such experiences provide children with the desire to explore the natural world and make more informed, healthy decisions.