Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Planting seeds of opportunity

By Kerry Watson, Communications Specialist

Standing in front of an assembly of grade school students, (Goessel) USD 411 Superintendent and Principal, John Fast, slipped on a pair of worn out gloves and mentioned he was looking forward to warmer weather because he had been bitten by a bug. 

Students soon found out that it was a gardening bug, not termites or the flu bug as some had guessed, that bit Superintendent Fast and that MKC was donating $500 to help offset costs of the school’s garden program.

Kerry Watson, Communications Specialist for MKC, was on hand to make the presentation to the assembly.

“A large portion of our donations go towards programs that promote ag education, alleviate hunger, develop the leadership skills of youth and improve community safety,” stated Watson.  The school garden is a great opportunity for MKC to donate to as it ties in nicely with two components of our donation program.
The garden program was started two years ago when the school received a grant from the state department of education.  The school’s garden was one the first five garden projects in the state of Kansas started that year.

Fast commented that the garden has created a renewed sense of enthusiasm. “Since starting the garden, students have been very excited learning about agriculture, science, nutrition and cooperative learning,” stated Fast. “They enjoy the chance to work in the garden.”

A curriculum has been incorporated with the garden project and includes weekly lessons that are 20 to 30 minutes each for students K through fifth grade.  The Agricultural Education classes help teach the students by inviting them to help start the plantings in the greenhouse.  In addition, students learn to recycle plant and garden refuse in the compost pile. Fast added that several lessons in their curriculum involve visiting farms and dairies so that the students can get a better understanding of how food is raised on a large scale production.  

MKC’s donation will pay for the garden project’s new coordinator, Pam Abrahams.  An avid gardener herself, Abrahams commented that it was important to her that the students have an opportunity to grow their own food. “I think all children should experience the joy and wonder of digging in dirt and watching the seeds they helped to plant grow,” she said.

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