Students Design Their Own Gardens
Students in the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance After School program explored new ideas of gardening and growing food locally. RWA Educator, Iemanja Brown, led students in a series of activities to help students design their own gardens while learning of the power that comes with being able to sustainably grow food and the numerous benefits of that. Students began by exploring the ideas of the distance that foods travel to get from a farm to their plates. "Okay, now I want you to find Mexico on your maps," instructed Brown. "Many of our vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, come all the way from Mexico because they have a warm climate there, although it might be winter here." Students were amazed as they circled the country on their printed maps while noticing and commenting on the incredible journey of the most basic foods. One student, Latoya, explained how her grandmother even had a garden back in her home in the Dominican Republic. "I loved to go in the backyard and pick guava in the summer - she even had chickens!" Unfortunately for many students in Ro ckaway and New York, there are limited spaces to practice the ancient skill of gardening and to enjoy such experiences. However, that situation may change soon for the students who created intricate design plans for gardens in the hopes of starting their own projects in the near future. The beautifully created garden designs will be incorporated into future plans for gardens that RWA has started throughout the peninsula.