Monday, April 6, 2015

Where We Have Been...Where We Are Going

So, another year and more has passed and there is so much that has happened in that time for our new sustainable living and garden program here at Middlebrook Farm School.  To begin with we go all the way back to the spring of 2013 when Heather Priest was hired to take over the Family & Consumer Science program and begin the new Culinary Arts program for 7th and 8th grade.  Her first question for me was, "Are you going to help me start a garden?" and there was no way I could say no.  Fast forward through our planning and plotting during the 2013-2014 school year to August 2014 when we built our first four garden boxes.  This included an automatic irrigation system.

We had a bit of a late start with our seedlings, but Heather and her kids were able to harvest some of the kale, Swiss chard, carrots, and collard greens for their work in the kitchen
As the fall and winter approached we wanted to try and protect our crops from the wind and snow by building covers for the garden boxes.

These were somewhat successful, but this hard winter beat them down a bit.  We definitely learned a few things about how we will try these next winter.  A four season harvest is our ultimate goal.  
That brings us to the present moment.  Heather, Principal Coleman, and I have been working over the course of this school year to design and create what will be the new sixth grade program that will replace Family & Consumer Science with this sustainable agriculture and gardening program.  On March 12th we presented our proposal to the Board of Education Curriculum Subcommittee who gave us the go ahead to present to the entire Board of Education on March 26th.  This has been a very exciting process to be a part of developing a new program that has so much potential and many possibilities.  
Another exciting development is our school joining the Connecticut Green Leaf Schools initiative.  This focuses on creating a healthy and productive learning environment at school with the goal that environmental education can create a focus for learning in all content areas and build critical thinking skills.  Middlebrook was recognized as a Green Leaf School on February 15th and Wilton High School was recognized on March 9th.  Here we are at one of our first meetings.
That brings us to the new growing season.  Our seeds have arrived and Heather has made detailed plans about what will be planted and where.
Garlic has begun to sprout...
...and we have Lily as an assistant gardener who is working with us as part of her seventh grade Power of One project.  She came to school on a Sunday to help us start seedlings and set up our new seedling grow room.

And speaking of seedlings, they are already well on their way and will need transplanting soon.

This weekend's project was to construct some of the new garden boxes and repair trellises.  

This morning we put the boxes together in the courtyard as well as a pallet composter.

That about brings us up to date with what we are up to here at Middlebrook Farm School.  Please check us out if you are in the neighborhood and I will be sure to update our blog more regularly.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.