The newly developed Terrace Middle School Garden Project is on a mission to foster improved nutritional practices through cultivation of organically grown produce. Garden Project Coordinator and 7th Grade Teacher Elisa Prather says, “The hope is to get kids to understand the connection between what they eat and where that food actually comes from. Most children do not understand the work required to produce the food that crosses their tables.”
The purpose of the Terrace Garden is for students to grow organic vegetables for the cafeteria, to cultivate native plants, to create a pollinator garden, and to have a “nature escape” on campus. Terrace Middle School’s Junior Interact Club adopted the project as their community service project for the year. Prather adds, “We started researching health statistics. Students were shocked by the rates of childhood obesity and diabetes in Lake County. We decided to do something about it and soon the idea of the garden project was born.” Research shows that children are more likely to eat fresh produce when they grow their own fruits and vegetables.
Prather hopes that eventually the Terrace Garden will serve the entire school, grades 4-8, and that it will be used as an outdoor classroom. “The garden will be a hands-on, real life platform to teach students about ecology through lessons about composting, pollination, and abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems. We have established a garden oversight committee made up of teachers, students, parents, and our school principal, Jill Falconer,” concludes Prather.
The Garden Project offers opportunity for community and education. The garden will be open every Saturday from 8-10 am throughout the summer. Students, parents and community members are welcome.
The TMS Garden Project was made possible by the following people: Chris Lasher, Dana Kent, Rotary Club Members Jennifer Strong, Tom Powers and Richard Neils, TMS teachers Jennifer Montgomery, Rich Facey, Melanie Sturr and Mr. Christianson, and TMS Principal Jill Falconer. The TMS Garden Project was made possible by the following organizations: Lake County Public Health, Ag Unlimited, PTO, LEEF, Student Council, Blue Heron 4H and various 7th grade students.