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5 Questions: Franklin elementary students plant school garden

Second graders at Paul Smith Elementary School in Franklin Cheyenne Chase (left) and Paige Colburn share a shovel to plant a blueberry bush in the garden behind the school; Friday, May 10, 2013.  Students planted fruit bushes and seedlings with the help of the UNH Cooperative Extension and with donations from around the community. It is the second of three phases of garden plots around the school. Last year students planted a butterfly garden and next year they hope to create a raised bed.

(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

Second graders at Paul Smith Elementary School in Franklin Cheyenne Chase (left) and Paige Colburn share a shovel to plant a blueberry bush in the garden behind the school; Friday, May 10, 2013. Students planted fruit bushes and seedlings with the help of the UNH Cooperative Extension and with donations from around the community. It is the second of three phases of garden plots around the school. Last year students planted a butterfly garden and next year they hope to create a raised bed. (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

With the completion of a new teaching garden, students at Paul Smith School in Franklin will now have a chance to grow and learn about the food they consume, as well as sell it in their community.

Community volunteers have been working on the garden since early April, and the elementary school students planted their seeds last week. Now, teachers can incorporate the garden into science and other lessons, giving the students a chance to monitor growth and learn how to manage a garden. Several businesses have contributed time and materials to the project, including Home Depot, Punch Brook Farm, Agway and many more, and students from the Tilton School volunteered to help ready the garden for planting.

LeAnne FiField, a parent volunteer, spoke about the project:

What will be in the garden? This spring we are putting together what we call our teaching garden, and it is basically edible landscape: blueberry bushes, strawberry burm, dwarf plum and cherry trees. We’re going to have kiwis growing up on trellises, we’re going to have grapes, they’re going to have an herb garden (and) they’re going to have hopefully big containers that they can do experiments in. . . . Oh, and it has 10 raised beds as well for veggies.

Are you purchasing everything locally? Everything we can personally buy local we have. People locally are donating, the local businesses are donating, so the money that we spend we try to put right back into the local economy.

How are you paying for this? We got two grants. We had a young man, a fourth-grader, who wrote a grant to a company and he won a $400 grant, and we got to pick where he wanted to spend that. We went with Home Depot, since (they) spent so much already on us we felt it was good to give back to them. Then, from what I understand, there’s the HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Living) Coalition within Franklin that got a . . . grant to start a year-round farmers market, and within that grant is $500 for a community garden project and that has been earmarked for us.

Will the veggies be sold? The kids are going to do some selling at the farmers market, and that will be a local fundraiser for them to be able to keep the gardens established and any maintenance that needs to happen.

Why is this an important project? It’s learning where their food comes from, learning healthy eating habits and it’s also learning how to take care your community and be a part of it.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

Legacy Comments1

Lesson #1. Never plant before the last frost.

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