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District Plans Expansion of High School Garden

The expansion will allow for growing year-round and teachers to incorporate gardening principles into their lesson plans.

The Greendale School District is expanding the high school garden to allow for growing even in the middle of a Wisconsin winter.

Through donations and grants from Walmart, Parkland Kiwanis and the Cooperative Education Service Agency, the district plans to construct a hoop-shaped greenhouse so students can enjoy hands-on learning no matter what time of year.

The expansion will also allow teachers to incorporate gardening principles into their lessons.

"We are trying to make our community a better place, and improve the lives of our citizens. The longer growing season at the school garden will allow us to grow vegetables and engage students and community all year round," said School Garden Manager and teacher July Lafond-Salus in a press release.

The garden features eight raised garden beds and numerous foods, including squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and much more, that are included in the school's lunch program and nutrition lessons.

Teachers across grade levels are now identifying garden-based lessons to prepare for summer and fall classes, which will include new course offerings, such as horticulture.

With some food waste items going toward garden compost, officials say the garden project may also save money for the district.

"If we can reduce the volume of solid waste removed, we can save money on our waste transportation costs as well as the material cost for the school garden," said Erin Green, director of business services. "It makes sense to investigate this as an option."

Staff and students of special education and adult cognitive disabilities programs initiated the garden last year. The project has engaged master gardeners, volunteers and expertise from organizations including Growing Power.

The garden expansion is one of several sustainability initiatives the district plans to implement over the next three years, according to a news release.

Judy February 13, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Is there anyone out there that cares about this. A press release paid for by school tax dollars.
Bren February 13, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Someone wrote earlier that a significant amount of produce from the garden was handed out to school staff. Did the garden need to be enlarged? Also, for the Patch: I'd be interested in learning more about who secured the donation from Walmart and the possible connection between that and how that controversial chain comes to be in Greendale.
CowDung February 13, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Having a hard time believing that Walmart contributes to the local community, Bren?
Bren February 13, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Cow, there's nothing to believe, documentations of contributions, such as this one, are on record. The real questions to ask are, how meaningful are these contributions when workers are poorly paid, companies like Newell Rubbermaid are strong-armed into offshoring in order to retain contracts, and evidence is currently being revealed that Walmart executives in Mexico have broken U.S. law(s) concerning corporate bribery of foreign officials? No, the comparative pittance this company/family donates makes up for none of their egregious business practices in my opinion. If the family truly had the spirit of giving in their hearts they would run their business in a very different way.
CowDung February 14, 2013 at 01:29 AM
How are you defining 'poorly paid' Bren? I posted Walmart wage information on one of the other threads where you made that claim--they pay better than the Pick n Save you were comparing them to. If executives were bribing Mexican officials, then they should be prosecuted according to the law. The Newell Rubbermaid claim is getting tiresome as well. Are there other companies that Walmart supposedly forced into offshoring jobs? Offshoring low skill jobs certainly isn't anything new, and is hardly unique to suppliers for Walmart. The value of low skill manufacturing work just isn't as high as it used to be.
Patroon February 14, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Bren Everything Greendale published the story on the garden and the fence that cost thousands. http://www.everythinggreendale.com/blog/?p=738
sara February 14, 2013 at 02:44 AM
Kudos to the Greendale staff, students, and volunteers who have made this a reality.
Jason Patzfahl February 14, 2013 at 01:04 PM
I appreciate the fact that my children go to a public school system that is incorporating an organic garden into its curriculum and lunch program, and is involving the special needs students. This sure beats the heck out of ordering frozen "veggies" that have to get shipped half way across the world in a cargo ship, and then a truck, sucking up all those diesel fumes - all before getting plopped onto my child's tray. Bravo GSD for doing the right thing, even if some of our more closed-minded residents are so resistant to change they would rather whine than make the better, more progressive choices that have a positive effect on the long-term health of our children and grandchildren. As for Walmart's involvement, well...
J. B. Schmidt February 14, 2013 at 01:49 PM
While I can appreciate the growing of organics and the health benefits of fresh vegetables; can some one explain where this should realistically fit into an education program? Our high schools should be focusing their energy on 1) preparing kids for college 2) preparing those not going to college for the working world. Since they eliminated the wood/auto department the school district has already determined #2 is not a priority. The only value to that students education would be if the student have a biology focused curriculum and a desire to pursue that in college. That makes this garden, at best, an elective that a minority of the students are interested in. No college on the planet has gardening as a requirement for entrance. If businesses or parent organizations want to completely support a garden, more power to them. If a select group of kids wishes to maintain the gardens as a senior level elective, great. To sacrifice class time to incorporate 'garden-based lessons', seems irresponsible. Greendale has good education facilities and has a better than average test scores; lets concentrate our efforts on making those better and ensure every student that leaves Greendale 1) gets into the college of his/her choice or 2) is hired in to a trade. Lets keep district money out of this garden and keep it where it will actually impact the lives of the students.
Isabell February 15, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Greendale has better than average test scores and good education facilities because past school boards paid attention to student learning and test scores. Now they are about going green, reducing waste products and planting gardens. Time for a few new board members who are about schools, not gardens and waste reduction. It is going to take John Tharp sometime get better. He needs a better school board to help him stay about the children.
Lisa417 February 15, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Family and Consumer Economics- Culinary Arts 2 year program. Class is designed for students who are serious about pursuing a career in any aspect of the food service industry or interested in an advanced education in Culinary Arts. When students complete the two-year program, the will receive certification from the National Restaurant Association. This class provides students with articulated college credit of advanced standing at more than 30 colleges and universities. I'm guessing future chefs can benefit from using the fresh produce.
J. B. Schmidt February 15, 2013 at 04:07 AM
@Lisa417 And they will use a garden how? I am fairly confident that college acceptance has nothing to do with planting or maintaining a garden. The same could be said for any employer looking to hire from this 2 year program. There are considerably cheaper ways to attain food for a culinary class that will not have an effect on the students ability to learn.

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