Organization: Carmel Middle School
During the 2012-2013 school year, Carmel Middle school increased their productivity, soil fertility and seedling production in their school garden. As they seek to expand curriculums centered around their garden in the near future, their goal is to deepen their garden-to-table growing opportunities, focusing on the growth of larger staple culinary crops (dry beans, grains, onions and garlic, for example) to support their school cooking classes in their LEED-certified kitchen classroom year-round. Carmel Middle School is also in the early stages of planning and fundraising for an expansive culinary herb garden and augmented outdoor veggie washing facility.
Currently, 6th grade eco-literacy students are learning to make and use DIY pest repellents from common household ingredients, pull weeds by hand, cover garden beds with mulch and cover crops and collect daily food waste from the school lunch program and kitchen classroom for their vermicompost bins. Students are also learning about the important role of worms as decomposers in recycling waste into “gardener’s gold” and organically improving soil in order to keep harmful chemical fertilizers out of their gardens and the larger ecosystems.
Aside from the direct curricular tie-ins to their classroom learning, students are developing healthy life skills (like harvesting fresh produce, washing, prepping and chopping legumes and enjoying whole eating and “slow food” practices) that will inform their eating habits and practices for years to come. Carmel students will continue to follow a school acronym called “FLOSS” (Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal and Sustainable) long after their time at Carmel Middle.