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    Whole Kids Foundation – Grant report, submitted 1/5/2017

    Washington Middle School Garden

    1. Please describe your garden and related projects. Note the general size and type of garden (raised bed, in-ground, etc.).
      Washington Middle School Garden is in the courtyard with 6 raised beds and was expanded a bit to add a large Scarlet Runner Bean Teepee, and 2 Lettuce Tables. Focus is food growing, but the school has implemented beautification projects over the course of this grant as well. Primarily the garden is used for the HOST (Huskies Out of School) program, Garden Club, taught and run by Green Plate Special. This is a weekly, all school year, after school program that combines food growing and cooking/sharing food together both at the school and with field trips to Green Plate Special's garden-to-table program. Two to three times a year the 6th grade science classes also use this garden for experiential science learning both through WMS science teachers and Green Plate Special. Summer time access of CDSA or other summer programs through the school has also played a small part.

    2. How did you spend the Whole Kids Foundation $2,000? A detailed itemized list of expenses is not required, rather include general categories such as labor, tools, curriculum materials, planting materials, etc. If funds are still remaining-that is fine with us! As long as they will be eventually used on the success of the garden, please hold onto the funds.
      Planting material: $325
      Tools and shed: $475
      Curriculum and Instruction: $1,200
      Total: $2000

    3. What is most unique or special about your garden program?
      It is a relatively new garden, started in summer of 2015 and it is a collaboration between the school, Seattle Parks and Recreation which supports the after school HOST program of which Green Plate Special is a partner and the lead for the Garden Club and Green Plate Special, which supplies all curriculum and educational labor and program volunteers for both the Garden Club HOST and the 6th grade science education. Therefor the garden is being utilized in two different ways (as well as with the summer program and Bite of Washington).
    4. What were your top 2-3 garden-related accomplishments this past year?
      Supporting the garden from Spring through Fall with planting and harvest projects for students and community. Adding the scarlet runner bean trellis-teepee for yearly planting and science exploration. This was our second year where students experienced a full growing cycle, and the first in which produce from the garden was shared with the school community -- tomato soup, watermelon slices, and free garlic.
      Continued increase in the number of HOST Garden Club students working with Green Plate Special since fall 2015.
      New tools and a garden shed to store and maintain them. Purchased through the WKF grant.

    5. What assets/factors contributed most to these successes?
      The greatest asset was the funding that made our WMS-GPS partnership possible, and the positive experience for science teachers with that partnership. The simple possibility of having support for hands-on learning for the science curriculum was invaluable.
      Seeing the garden and youth participating and learning from it, helped teachers and parents understand the value of garden programming.

    6. How is your school integrating the garden into curriculum or using it to support academics? Please list specific examples.
      The 6th grade science students use the garden with the support of Green Plate Special for hands-on learning about soil, compost, dormancy, plant growth, transplanting indoor starts into the garden, observation of plant development, and harvesting. Most of our students would never have this experience without the WKF funding that brings GPS to our school. Additionally, this year a team of University of Washington graduate students used the garden and school grounds for work with the 8th grade science classes on forest ecology, native plant species, soil health, and as a place for contemplation and reflection on unit learning.

    7. How do you use the food grown in your garden? Is it served in the cafeteria, used in the classroom, shared at garden club meetings, served at community events, donated to need-based organizations, etc.?
      During the school year, the food is used primarily in the HOST program run by Green Plate Special. Youth cook with it and take home leftovers for their families, or harvest the produce to take home to cook what they have learned.
      But in the summer the bounty is:

      1. given to volunteer families that help water and support the summer garden
      2. harvested and cooked for events such as Bite of Washington, in order to showcase and bring recognition to the school and it's garden.

       

    8. What have you found to be the best way(s) to get parents/families or community volunteers involved in the garden?
      The Garden Committee was started to provide a voice to parents/families interested in supporting and cultivating the garden. This group meets monthly to discuss projects, work parties and the current needs of the students and teachers interested in garden curriculum. It also serves to recruit volunteers to water, harvest and weed in the spring and summer months.
      The Bite of Washington was also an excellent marketing tool for community engagement.
      Green Plate Special is the community partner that works with the students in the garden.
      Work parties in the garden and on the school grounds bring families, community members, students and Seattle-area volunteer groups to the school for community service.
      This is one area, of course, where more work needs to be done to involve volunteers and families more. See challenges below.

    9. Have you organized any successful garden-related events or fundraisers? If so, please describe.
      We participated in Bite of Washington.
      In October 2016 there was a successful work party with 10 adults and 12 students, to weed and beautify the garden.
      In November 2016 we had several parent volunteers over a three day period assist over 300 science student with bulb-planting, seed-saving, mulching and composting activities.
      In May 2017 there will be another work party to lay a foundation for our new school garden tool shed, and assist in doing something about the soggy areas between raised beds.

    10. Have you seen evidence (anecdotal or measured) that the garden is influencing/changing children's eating habits or attitudes toward health or the environment? If so, please share details.
      At the Bite of Washington, students and adults alike were very impressed with how delicious our tomato soup was, amazed that we were able to grow a watermelon in Western Washington, happy to take free garlic, and delighted that it all grew in our school garden.
      One teacher reported overhearing a student yell, as he pulled a carrot from a raised bed between classes one day: "Hey, this is REAL food!"
      Regularly parents from our HOST program report their children are for the first time eating salads, and other vegetables they had refused to eat in the past.
      "I like this salad the most... WAIT, IT'S KALE???" Amaranay, 6th grade
      Q: Would you like to plant vegetables again someday?
      A: Yes! So I can enjoy nutritious foods with vitamins and that are healthy. Planting vegetables costs less money than buying them at the stores. Owen, 6th grade

    11. We love hearing from your kids! Please share with us a quote from one or more of your kids and their thoughts about the garden. We would especially love to hear if they have anything to say in the categories of: garden knowledge, fruit and vegetable consumption, curiosity about the garden, or understanding of key healthy eating concepts. If possible, please include their first name and age or grade.
      My mom gave me a P-patch for my birthday! My mom and I are looking forward to teaching other kids what GPS taught me about growing food! - Tea 7th grade
      Those are Fava Beans! I know those beans, I planted them last year! I am the father of those beans. - Julien 7th grade
      I learned that it's definitely important to pay attention to specific spacing between seeds. - Kiana 6th grade

      WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY?

      • Soil is very important for the plants to grow
      • Worms have lots of parts and a stomach
      • There are different layers of compost
      • How long it takes to make compost
      • Worms look like Godzilla under the microscope!
      • The secret of a seed
    12. What are/were your biggest challenges (location, climate, financial, volunteer support, etc.) and how have you worked to overcome them?
      Financial is always the most challenging. Strong programs require funds to support them. We have a good and growing relationship between WMS and Green Plate Special. We are hopeful that the momentum and impact that is seen by teachers, administration and of course students will make it possible to raise the needed funds to continue and grow our garden programs.
      Having consistent volunteer support for the garden outside of program time, is also a great challenge and organizing these volunteers takes time and resources as well. We hope that more involvement from the PTSA and feedback on what's needed on this from GPS and the Garden Team, will strengthen this area next year.
      All gardens are at their height at the end of the school year and throughout the summer.

    13. #17 was a 0-10 on what was most needed to be successful (it wouldn’t let me copy and past it)

    14. What resources (including online, printed or local/community-based) have been vital to the growth/success of your garden program?
      The supported relationship between Green Plate Special, the WMS's Garden Team, headed up Elaine Harger, as well as renewed interest by 6th grade science teachers as been the most important reason for success and growth of our garden and programs

    15. Is there anything else you want to share with us, including recommendations for enhancing the grant program?
      We want to point out that this garden has 2 different programs using it -HOST (12-14 students each semester) and the 6th grade science class (270 approximately) so our number 280 in Q #4 reflects this. But the HOST program in in the garden 1x a week, while the 6th grade science classes have education directly in the garden 2x a year (due to funding challenges).
      So Q#5 reflects that the majority of the time in the garden with HOST students, since they do 90% of the planting, tending, harvesting.
      The WKF funding helped to support the collaboration with Green Plate Special and WMS and helped to solidify this relationship. The size of the grant goes a long way in supporting garden purchases and education that is built into the school already, but for schools with high numbers of low income families, much more funding is needed to support the kind of substantial garden education that is possible and needed, to make a sustainable impact on our families

    16. Did you utilize the Garden Resource binder in your Garden Grant package? If so, what stood out to you or what was particularly helpful? Please share any feedback/suggestions or resources you would like to see represented.
      We did not use the package, as Green Plate Special as their own garden and cooking curriculum and this was used at the school. The other items in the box although lovely, were meant for younger students (apron, gloves, stickers). The kneeling mat was incorporated into the schools tool shed.
      Seeds would be the most helpful, or certificates for purchase of quality compost or seeding soil. Garden staples, reemy or just a few quality trowels or weeding tools would always be welcome!

    17. If you receive the SCOOP, our newsletter for Garden Grant recipients, please share what stands out or is helpful. Please also share any suggestions or feedback.
      We did not receive