co-writtten by Sangram S. Karande and Li Zhu
On this year’s Green Apple Day of Service (Sep 15th), TT Farm2School teams organized garden workdays at Turner/Bartels K-8 School and Greco Middle School. At both events volunteers from USF, the College of Public Health, the Patel College, TBK8 teachers and Grace Empire Church worked on school garden and beautification projects. It was a happy morning at Greco, led by Patel student Winnie and Susan and Milan Gessman, weeding the pollinator garden and cleaning out the earth boxes used for herb garden to supply dishes prepared by Greco culinary arts students. There was the feeling of passion and joy in helping to build the first phase of the TBK8 outdoor garden classroom as we thought about garden experiences the fourth grade students would soon be having.
At TBK8, we started the morning by assembling the wooden frames for the new fourth grade vegetable gardens. TBK8 parent Ron Dell (Curb Appeal Tampa), lent his professional landscaping skills to help the volunteer team. TBK8 fourth grade teachers Katherine Powell, Collette Forget and Dan Sturlaugson and administrators Ms Barone and Mr Harris came out to help Jacques Werleigh, TTF2S Agriculture Advisor, lead volunteers in mixing a special dirt recipe we used in the gardens that included compost donated by Busch Gardens, mushroom compost, Black Kow manure, and peat moss. The building team placed the garden frames 5 ft apart in a semi-circle to allow for plenty of space for students to work together between the gardens.
The grand opening for the new gardens is planned for November 3 when TTF2S team leader Yara Khalil will prepare smoothies and lettuce wraps to share from the new pop-up Kids’ Kitchen. Spring of 2019 TTF2S is submitting a Lowe’s grant to fund the next phase for TBK8’s outdoor learning garden. If we are successful, we will use those funds to build a shaded structure with seating for children to do their garden lessons. If you would like to contribute to helping us complete the new outdoor classroom projects at Turner-Bartels K-8 school, please contact Elizabeth Leib, firstname.lastname@example.org.