Oskaloosa Community Garden
We created a class, in its inaugural year, at Oskaloosa High School called “Sustainable Practices.” This class works in conjunction with our School/Community garden- and has utilized the SARE grant funds. We are nearing completion of our garden shed that is made from recycled pallet wood. Funds from the SARE grant purchased many tools to help us complete this project (pry bars, hammers, hardware lumber, etc). Last year, Elementary School students planted a variety of herbs and vegetables. We also used funds to buy materials and build a grow light set-up. We have learned a large amount about the care of different strains and species of edible plants. We are just now starting to transplant those starts from indoors to outdoors. Students have learned a great deal through “hands-on” learning. They worked on and completed every project thus far, with little adult help. They have researched, drawn plans, and executed projects with a great degree of quality.
Our projects have been shared across the community- pictures/articles have been printed in the town newspaper, the school newsletter, social media & on the school website. We plan on starting a greater outreach to the community next year by placing flyers around town and going door to door to help with yard work to collect compostable waste. Our high school students along with volunteers from our community have helped grades pre k through 6th plant and will continue to do so. As our garden’s infrastructure nears completion we are setting our sights on spreading knowledge through workshops/demonstrations and food drives. Our newly established “Jefferson County Food Council” has claimed a stake in our efforts as well. We plan on collaborating with the JCFC, Rotary and local churches to provide educational experiences to those members of our community who are not in school and need aide of some sort. We have had great support and work at our garden site daily. On another note, we have built a kiln for our High School art class at our garden site. We are beginning a cross-curricular collaboration between art and science.
WORK PLAN FOR 2016
The class “Sustainable Practices” that was created this year was a hit. We had 39 students enroll in the class for the 2016-17 school year, and are now going to use an application process to determine enrollment. We will continue to improve our garden site by adding more plants, trails and artwork. We have a fundraiser on May 20th to raise funds for fruit trees to plant at our garden site this coming fall. We would eventually like to have an outdoor classroom (covered area). We also plan on focusing on more community outreach by providing a volunteer workforce for elderly (or less able) citizens who live in town. This workforce will focus on helping maintain yards/landscaping/exterior house work.