The kindergarten students in Sandra Starling’s class at L.C. Kerr School gathered around a wooden box in the school garden and carefully listened as they were given instructions on planting cabbage.
For many, it was not only their first time seeing a cabbage plant, but their first opportunity to take part in digging into the soil and begin the process of growing vegetables.
“This is a great way for the kids to learn where their food comes from,” Chick Gancer, Master Gardener, said about the kids having a chance to plant a variety of vegetables.
For the last four years, students have been given the opportunity to work with the Master Gardeners to plant crops in the fall and spring. Monday, students from 16 classrooms gathered and planted cabbage, collards, kale, broccoli and cauliflower.
“Some of them have never seen some of these vegetables before,” Jeff Swartz, Child Nutrition director for Clinton City Schools, said. “Now, they have the chance to go into a store and see something and know where that food came from.”
In the spring, the first grade will have the opportunity to plant spring vegetables, and just as school is about to adjourn for the summer, one more crop will go into the ground.
As the students lined up around the box Monday, they eagerly waited for instructions from Bob and Sue Williams, who just recently joined the Master Gardeners and were helping with the planting process for the first time.
Sue shared facts about cabbage with the students before showing them how to dig into the soil with their hands, place the cabbage plant into the ground and then cover the bottom of the plant with soil.
“I loved getting to stick my hands in the dirt and dig a hole,” Zander, one of Starling’s kindergarten students, said. “This spring we are going to plant a garden at home and plant some carrots.”
Now that the plants are nicely nestled into the ground, students will spend the next few months watching the plants grow, measure that growth and then harvest them later in the fall. Swartz said students will have an opportunity to taste some of the vegetables once they are harvested and cooked.
Zoey, another one of Starling’s students, said she liked getting to dig into the dirt, but what she was most looking forward to was planting a garden at home with her Papa.
“Now I can show my Papa what I learned,” the kindergartner said.
According to Swartz, the garden at L.C. Kerr has been utilized to teach students about not only where food comes from, but allow them an opportunity to watch the growth process and learn how weather affects crop production. As part of the program, students are introduced to foods they may otherwise not have the opportunity to see or taste.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.