Michele Murphree shares the experience of creating school gardens from the inception in 2010 through the success of creating a county wide program in elementary schools. Michelle willing shares her ideas for working with schools, obtaining grants, the development of garden clubs; she offers equipment and seed lists as well as tips on how to build community relations with local businesses.
“The purpose of this project is for our students to plan and develop an edible garden. This includes organizing and preparing the garden, planting the seeds and plants, tending the garden, and harvesting the produce. The fruits and vegetables harvested are included in the school lunches and snacks, and shared with our families and communities, including the Bonner County Food Bank.
At the elementary schools, we have created a “garden club,” which meets once a week during gardening season, after school. At the Charter School, this type of garden is part of the curriculum for the sixth and seventh grade science classes and next year, culinary classes will be added.
To date, our school gardens have been a huge success. This type of garden is teaching our children and families an important lesson in self-sufficiency by giving them the knowledge and skills to grow their own healthy food. In our garden project, we have seen many different kids and ages come together as a team, laughing, getting their hands dirty, planting seeds, harvesting and then enjoying the fruits of their labor in the cafeteria.
In the first year of the program the true impact of children growing and eating from a garden became apparent when the school cafeteria ran out of salad dressing. Michelle also measures the success as she watches the older students mentor the younger ones in the basic skills.
Michele welcomes questions and is willing to share all levels of her success. Her contact information is below along with some recommended reading an viewing.