Hungry Delawareans reap rewards from students’ gardening
August 22, 2016
By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
Thank you to the hard-working Milford Central Academy FFA (Future Farmers of America) students for their generous donations of fresh produce from their school garden.
Our hunger relief partners and the people they serve always appreciate fresh tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash, green beans and more!
Too bad the people who enjoy the vegetables can’t also experience the enthusiasm these students, and their teacher/ advisor Judith Bruns express about the ongoing project.
The students, Allison Gardner, Ashlyn Welch, Brayden O’Brien, Jacob Smith, and Heather Haigh, are in the 7th and 8th grades. Although the newly organized FFA chapter has just over 60 members, these students planted the garden in the spring and came in during the summer to tend and weed the 25 by 40-foot plot behind the school.
Even in adverse weather conditions!
They learned, and obviously had a great deal of fun while doing so, that gardening is very hands-on, and it requires some serious commitment.
From the beginning, Hannah said, part of the goal was to donate produce to the Food Bank of Delaware.
Early on, the students learned about soil sampling and soil enrichment, thanks to Southern States.
They had to deal with May’s rainy season, but were still able to harvest peas and lettuce.
The organization’s Delaware State Fair projects taught these students that there were times the weeds had to wait in order to meet fair deadlines.
Then there weeds and more weeds and more weeds, but still the students enjoyed lots of laughs and funny stories.
There were some surprises as well.
The students shared some of their plants with elementary schools, and were able to harvest 14 pounds of lettuce at Morris Early Childhood Center, Ms. Bruns said.That’s right! Fourteen pounds!
As the summer progressed, students became familiar with the drill: harvest, weed, water, weed again.
Naturally, the garden provides many teachable moments, as Ms. Bruns pauses her conversation to remind students how to recognize what’s ripe and what needs to wait a day or two, what insects are harmful and what are helpful, and even how to deal with a visiting baby bunny.
“This is my first time working in a garden. I was raised in a city,” said Hannah, who’s learning that producing fresh vegetables requires some work, some sacrifice, but it is also fun.
For more information about how to donate fresh produce to the Food Bank of Delaware, visit www.fbd.org/produce.