Many families find it difficult to grow vegetables in the town of Crellin due to the acidic soil remaining from the mining industry that once inhabited the town. In addition, as a town where many residents are living near or below the poverty level, healthy eating is quite often not a priority. The lack of knowledge related to gardening techniques, which can resolve inadequate soil or space issues, is another reason community members are not planting gardens. However, there is evidence that the desire for availability of fresh vegetables exists. Community members frequently visit our schoolyard vegetable garden. They come to school to acquire fresh farm eggs, and the elderly residents appreciate the fresh baked foods students cook and deliver to their homes. Our program, Crellin School: Growing Good Neighbors, will address each of these needs. Through this program, which began in the summer of 2016, Crellin Elementary students will learn new knowledge and skills that will be applied to improve their community. Students will gain leadership skills as they teach community members horticulture methods for planting, harvesting, and cooking fresh foods. Students will assist community members in assessing their available yard space and determining the best planting technique. They will provide assistance in constructing the gardens, planting of seeds, maintaining the gardens, and harvesting of vegetables. Students will encourage community members to continue these gardening practices by providing seeds from plants harvested in our greenhouse and garden each year. Students in the photographs below represent kindergarten, first, second, and third grades.
Students of all ages were invited to participate in the summer program.