Bristol Students Learn Value of Getting Their Hands Dirty
January 10, 2020
By Chris Gilson, CCM communications writer
Farming, the act of planting seed and harvesting the crop, is essential to the American legend. The Pilgrims would not have survived their first winter without the assistance of Native American farming techniques. But farming is something we have increasingly lost touch with. But that’s starting to change; community gardens are popping up and farmer’s markets a filled with local produce all summer. The City of Bristol Department of Public Works and Board of Education are bringing this essential skill back to school with “Bristol Gardens – A Work of Heart.”
The concept is easy, students should learn all the necessary skills to lead healthy lives and make good food choices, and those skills should start at school. “The mission of ‘Bristol Gardens – A Work of Heart’ is to encourage Bristol students to go outside and get their hands dirty by growing their very own garden each season.”
Of the project, Lindsey Rivers, Public Works Analyst for the City of Bristol, said “we want all Bristol students to have the opportunity to get their hands dirty and grow their own food.”
So far, students have planted things like lettuce, herbs, garlic, and fall vegetables in their gardens, all of which these students will have the opportunity to bring some of the produce home to eat with their family.
Help abounds back to top
The gardens were built with help from many different groups according to the press release for the program: they were principally built by the Public Works Department at the Greene Hills School, Stafford School, and Ivy Drive School. They were given monetary assistance through a Lowe’s Home Improvement grant, which helped fund flexible outdoor seating, mindfulness tools, and garden supplies.
Additionally, Mizzy Construction, a local company donated materials and labor to pour the concrete pad that comprises the base of the outdoor learning classroom. ESPN volunteers came to Stafford School and painted sensory walk paths as well as transforming to court yards into gardens for pollinating and vegetables.
The Stafford Elementary School Principal Kristin Irvine was very enthusiastic about the project: “We are excited and eager to start using our outdoor learning classroom this year. We will also be starting a student gardening club where, with the support of Bristol Public Works department, we will be teaching children the benefits of garden and composting, along with the delicious rewards when our vegetables and herbs mature!”
Projects like these emphasize and reinforce the skills needed to sustain, skills that are as crucial today as they were 400 years ago when the Pilgrims first learned how to sow the new land from the Native tribes. Michael Dietter, Assistant Superintendent of Bristol Public Schools, said it best “ with multiple entry points for learning and collaboration, these gardens will sustain our learners’ interests throughout the school year and beyond.”