624 W Southwood Dr, Woodland, CA 95695
(ASES after school/garden coordinator)
DeAnn Tenhunfeld is a committed garden coordinator who knows the value of gardens and decided to restore Whitehead’s garden program.
She communicated with teachers and made sure each grade would be responsible for deciding on, planting, caring for, and harvesting their crops (each has an assigned garden bed). Students in the after school program also planned, planted, and grew different vegetables that they selected, including lettuce, chard, tomatoes, peppers, and arugula.
Classes had tastings and shared prepared recipes using garden vegetables. Recipes were made into a cook book for all students (left).
Nutrition education lessons from the garden were incorporated into the classrooms, and each month, parents were invited to the garden to see the students’ progress and enjoy veggie tastings.
With Taste Our Garden grant funds, Whitehead was able to get a weed eater (the garden was full of weeds before this year’s garden program), rakes, hoes, pruners, and other tools, materials for cookbook, and a stipend for a garden intern to help.
What do you feel is the greatest impact of the school garden? “The support and encouragement of all of the students and our garden. The kids are hands-on and take personal pride and initiative in our garden and responsibilities,” said DeAnn Tenhunfeld, garden coordinator. “We have a Fun Friday Club (garden day) and the whole group, sometimes up to 100 kids, is excited to come out and weed, water, plant, and harvest. It will change their relationship with and understanding about food and where it comes from. They love it out here.”
Project-based learning focuses on student choice. Each grade level chose a subject to research and then became experts on their selection, and presentations were given at the end of the year. This year’s theme was the garden. Each grade had a different course of study such as organisms that live in the garden or different fruits and vegetables grown in the garden. Oral presentations, display boards, the recipe book, and power points were just a few ways students showed off their work to the school and their parents.
“The kids learned a lot, had a wonderful sense of accomplishment, and had fun,” said DeAnn.
~By Beth Harrison, Executive Director, Yolo Farm to Fork