Our school (Atlantic County Special Services, has 5 different garden areas, 1 – aromatic herbs and a Zen garden area created this year with a community tree expert, 2 – Vegetables: Tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant and radishes, 3 – fruit: strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, 4 – butterfly garden, and 5 – an English style garden with perennial and annual flowers our students cut and display in our restaurant.
A classroom oversees each garden area but various classrooms assist with preparing, planting, maintaining and harvesting crops. We have a garden club that meets once a week throughout the school year to learn gardening skills, play educational games (gardenopoly, garden bingo), and prepare news for parents such as container gardening, fresh New Jersey produce facts, healthy snack alternatives, smoothie recipes etc. We have student jobs to cut and deliver herbs to our chef for restaurant recipes. We have a girl’s club that cares for the butterfly garden which elementary classes visit for educational lessons. We have wheelchair students who love to water and they utilize adaptive tools to dig and plant in raised bed areas.
The grants from AtlantiCare have been a blessing as our students love the garden projects. Our students learn about gardening and parent information goes home for anyone interested in creating their own garden areas. The students have quiet places to visit and classroom teachers have opportunities to teach many kinds of educational lessons for various subjects. Our harvested crops are used in classrooms, donated to local food banks and recipes and produce go home with the students. We love our gardens and plan to sustain them for many years to come!!!!!!!