On a beautiful afternoon, students, their families and the staff gathered at the in Wainscott on Wednesday to celebrate the start of its school garden.
Five raised vegetable beds, an herb garden, a berry row and butterfly garden were ready for planting, and everyone got their hands dirty to get everything growing.
"CDCH is committed to integrating a school-wide Sustainability Curriculum and is partnering with surrounding schools and organizations to help ensure our children inherit a healthy East End and a healthy planet," the school stated on its invitation.
Megan Schmidt, the former director of development at CDCH and mother to 4.5 year old Ella Schmidt, a student there, helped get the project off the ground. "The idea for the garden originated out of a discussion I had with a fellow parent, Jenny Baker whose son Miles, now in fourth grade, has attended CDCH since preschool," Schmidt said, adding that she and Baker became co-chairs of the garden committee.
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"Jenny and I are both passionate about the environment, our children and food systems," she said. "The leadership at CDCH allowed us the opportunity to present an Edible Garden proposal, and with the recruited help of our garden "master," Jeff Negron, we presented, re-presented and earned the funding and trust to move forward."
The process took over a year. "We've been fortunate enough to have some major support from local environmental groups; farms like and Sunset Beach Farm in North Haven; landscapers and local businesses," like and JPL Landscaping.
The harvest from this year's season will be consumed by the students and staff. Anything left over will be sent home or donated to local food pantries.
Future phases are planned, too, such as the expansion of vegetable beds "to create a yield to support mini-CSA program for families at the school as well as a native planting outdoor classroom area."
Students are learning about the different types of roots, collecting rain water, and that there are more than one kind of lettuce.