Fairfield High School
The Fairfield High School garden was initially two abandoned raised beds that needed revitalization. This installation attracted around 70 participants from different sectors of the school. Participants included the Garden Club, students from the culinary class, Special Education and P.E. students wanting to support the garden. These numbers also include members from the public who volunteered for the school’s beatification efforts on Martin Luther King Day. Overall the installation took about two months, since we had a couple of long holidays over the winter and rain.
While mostly facilitated by the sustainable landscape designer, the Fairfield Garden Club was given a blueprint of the garden area and invited to create a design for the garden. This garden area was also an area that Special Education students utilize for comfort, and as such we engaged the Special Education teacher in the design so that her needs and the needs of her students for utilizing that space would be met.
Results and Impact
A major goal was to utilize the produce grown at the garden for the school’s culinary programs. We involved the culinary teacher and he showed interest in getting fresh herbs out of the garden. The Fairfield Garden Club supports the garden by maintaining it. Produce grown in the garden is shared with the culinary program, the students and Fairfield High School teachers.
The garden champion for the site is one of the librarians at Fairfield High School, and while she does not have formal gardening experience, she is committed to making the garden a success. Her love for supporting students in ways that go beyond the typical classroom education is a huge asset. Through her role as a librarian, she has been able to engage students with different interests and abilities. A year after the installation, a second school champion joined — another teacher who is interested in engaging her students in hands-on gardening experiences and creating a place to go during lunch. They are currently looking for ways to engage more individuals in the garden and to create more learning and activities.
Thanks to their dedication, they are sure to create a huge impact!
Over the next five years this garden will create at least 202 pounds of food, which is around 168 meals. These meals will be prepared by culinary students.
Time after time, the need for a strong garden champion eager to support their students is necessary for a successful school garden. Equally as important is for that garden champion to brainstorm ways of including more people and more teachers in the current garden and future garden efforts. A successful and long-lasting garden will need a visionary champion that engages and includes several different portions of the school’s population and interests into the scope of the garden. Additionally, including all interested staff in the initial planning meetings and process is necessary in order to make sure all tasks are delegated and they do not end up falling on just one person. Lastly, figuring out best ways to keep students and staff engaged as we wait for contracts to be signed is also key.