Cass Middle School’s garden club exists to teach students about growing seeds, maintaining crops, and harvesting crops. The greenhouse, which is equipped with a gas heater and a large wooden table, is an excellent educational tool for students.
Students grades 6-8 can participate in researching, planting, maintaining, and harvesting different types of fruits and vegetables. Starting the garden club has helped us implement research-based best practices in our school in many ways. First, it teaches the kids about the value of hard work, and they realize that vegetables do not just come from the produce aisle of the grocery store. Second, it provides an extracurricular activity for students who are interested in farming or horticulture and/or for students who want to learn more about gardening in general. Third, our garden club has provided vegetables for our school lunchroom, and the benefits of that are multidimensional. Students in the garden club feel proud when they see their peers eating the vegetables that they grew in the greenhouse. It also encourages students to eat healthy and try new things. Lastly, we can also provide fresh, locally-grown vegetables at no cost to the school (or very minimal cost).
Two years ago, we had great success with our school greenhouse and garden and we were featured in the local newspaper and sponsored by Farm Bureau. This year we have bigger and better plans for our greenhouse and garden club. We hope to expand our ability to grow different vegetables, and add in fruits this year.