1100 Claredon St, W Sac, CA 95691
Teachers Barbara Butler, Thea Straws
Diane Smith, Principal
Westmore Oaks received their very first garden funds with Yolo Farm to Fork’s Taste Our Garden grant in 2014. They plowed and planted vegetables and fruit last spring. They had watermelon, bell peppers and tomatoes to give out to visitors to sample at their back-to-school night.
Teachers Barbara Butler and Thea Straws took over the garden this year with four parent volunteers and their families. The Garden Group met every Saturday for months—and now they have ten planter boxes, one for each grade level and teachers all over the school are having students grow seedlings in milk cartons getting ready to plant.
What was once a small project has turned into a school-wide project which complements the new Common Core Standards, and allows students to see how the planting of a seed develops into a plant with living fruit and vegetables.
They used the Taste Our Garden funds in 2015 to sustain their garden, continue to use it as a teaching garden, and to use the garden to help develop a community network to give back to underserved populations. Supplies purchased include: garden tools such as shovels, hand tools and gloves, plants and seeds, soil, bark, sticks and signs for plant identification, and stipends for Interns.
What are your future garden plans? “We are participating in the Thursday Night Farmer’s Market in West Sac where we sell garden fruits, vegetables, and small seedlings (right). The money we make goes back into the garden to help fund more garden supplies and garden tools,” said Barbara Butler, teacher and garden volunteer. “We are planning on working with the WUSD Student Nutrition Services to give some produce to the cafeteria to serve in school lunches.”
“We recently attended the Get Outdoors networking meeting at the Sacramento Food Bank and are also researching how we can join forces with them to help contribute toward underserved students’ families.”
What has been the biggest impact the garden has had on students? “Bringing the campus together! It’s been a challenging year and we’ve found that once teachers got involved, it brought us all together as a school. Our principal is incredibly supportive and all of our school’s classes participated.”
~ by Beth Harrison, Yolo Farm to Fork Executive Director