Brooklyn Park, MINN.- A garden that has been in the works for over three years is being built on the campus of Hennepin Technical College. The garden is a collaboration between Hennepin Technical Horticulture students, culinary students and Highview Alternative Program in Robbinsdale. They are building an E2 Earth Education Garden that will provide an outdoor classroom next spring when they plant the first crops.
In Phase 1, high school science students and college landscaping students are constructing raised garden beds in the shape to two capital E letters and researching appropriate plants for the garden.
Secondary students will work with the college horticulture students in the spring and summer; both groups will sow the plants, tend to the garden, and harvest the produce. The HTC culinary arts students will use the fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs in their college classes with excess produce being distributed to Highview students and local food shelves. HTC culinary students will also demonstrate fresh produce preparation for the secondary students.
In Phase 2, Highview and HTC students will construct a duplicate garden at the Highview site in Golden Valley. We hope to impact the school lunch program by incorporating some of the garden produce into the school menu. Another goal would be to encourage healthy eating after school. In Phase 3, we hope to construct satellite gardens in the community.
Thus far, the E2 Garden project has been awarded a $3000 Seven Dreams Educational Grant for busing, curriculum writing, substitute teachers, and garden materials. Another Carl Perkins grant purchased tools (wheel barrows, levels, deadblow hammers, shovels, rakes, etc.).
Anchor Block donated the retaining wall block. We are still writing grants and seeking business/community partners for fencing (animal control) and pre-mixed garden soil.
It's a win-win project-teaching students how to care for the earth and plants so they, in turn, can grow and consume their own healthy food and share it with others. Another feature of the program: career exploration and adult mentors for secondary students.
Belinda & Bobby