2009-09-18 / School News

Students Harvest Sustainable Produce Garden

RWA educator Iemanja Brown and a student harvesting lettuce from the garden. RWA educator Iemanja Brown and a student harvesting lettuce from the garden. The students of Rockaway Waterfront Alliance's EnvironMentor program have been busy creating gardens in Far Rockaway. Last winter, students at the NYCHA Ocean Bay Community Center began by designing and building a garden of raised beds in front of the center to plant vegetables to share with family and friends in the summer.

Last fall the students planted daffodil bulbs around the center's property, but conversations in the classroom about healthy foods inspired them to take charge of their own diets by beginning to grow produce as well.

In the spring, the students planted corn, squash, cilantro, carrots and various kinds of lettuce in the garden and have been taking bags of produce home to their families each week. They also created a compost system to get rich soil for the garden from food scraps, and created a rain water collection system to water the garden.

"Taking previously unused outdoor space and creating a garden has engaged the kids in thinking more about revitalizing other areas throughout the Rockaways to bring fresh and healthy food to their community," said RWA educator Iemanja Brown, who led the project.

Student pointing out the vegetables growing in the garden and rain water collection system. Student pointing out the vegetables growing in the garden and rain water collection system. As they continue these efforts, RWA will be looking to expand to other areas throughout the Rockaways and to support long-term sustainability in the Rockaway community.

The students all pitch in to fill the raised beds with soil. The students all pitch in to fill the raised beds with soil.

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