Saturday, May 23, 2015

Manchester School receives Public Health Grant - By Michelle Libby

Manchester School received a $750 grant from the Let’s Go Public Health Program to expand its Garden for Learning. Last Saturday, volunteers from the garden committee and the school worked to remove mulch from the floor of the hoop house that was too dusty and replaced it with crushed rock. They also built two raised beds and cleaned up the garden area. 

The grant, written by Stacey Sanborn, Pam Lanz and Donna Morton, will add two additional raised beds and a grape vine arbor for the students to grow more fruits and vegetables for the lunch program. Seating will also be built by the students to give them a work area.   Last fall the students made delicious soup from carrots grown in the garden, which everyone enjoyed! Tasty tomatoes, lettuce and spouts, grown in the garden, were included in the salad bar.  This project will increase the garden to provide more offerings.  It will also help students have an awareness of where food comes from and a sense of pride for a lifelong love of gardening, said retired Manchester School teacher Donna Morton.

With the grant money, they purchased two picnic tables to act as a work area outside. They also purchased soil and compost. “There’s a lot that can be done out here,” said teacher Stacey Sanborn. In addition to the grapes that grow very well at Manchester School, the team plans to grow, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, squash, garlic, pumpkins and greens, which they started growing in February. 

“We time the vegetables to be able to enjoy them before they leave in June,” Sanborn said. Last year the gardens produced $50 worth of greens for the cafeteria. They also connected with families who have the need for fresh vegetables. The goal is to cut back on what the cafeteria has to buy, said Sanborn.
Two students volunteered for part of the morning. 

In the future, the committee would like to see the addition of an outdoor classroom and a butterfly garden.

The crew cleaning up the Manchester School Garden for Learning. L to R Darlene Jeffers, fourth grader Ashlynn Moorehead, Nicholas Sanborn, Stacey Sanborn, Pam Lanz, Chuck Frolio and Sabrina Nickerson. Not pictured was fourth grader Aurora Racconne and Robert Deakin who works with the students in the garden. 

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