Goessel Elementary School recently received a $2,500 grant from the State Department of Education for its innovative gardening program
Goessel Elementary is one of only four schools in the state of Kansas to receive this honor for their project-based learning initiative.
The past year and a half, Warren Yoder, lead gardener, has been donating his time to teach the students gardening. This grant will pay for his time and for resources needed in the gardening program.
As part of the grant, Goessel Elementary will receive a curriculum provided by the state. All classes K-5 receive at least 20 minutes of guided instruction from Yoder on a weekly basis. Some classes contribute more time during the week to the gardening project depending on what is needed in the garden.
“This project ties in neatly with multiple science and nutrition guidelines and helps reconnect students to understand where their food comes from, how it is produced, the nutritional value of fresh fruits and vegetables, team work and physical labor,” said John Fast, Goessel superintendent and elementary school principal.
So far, the following items have either been raised or planted in the garden: potatoes, corn, cantaloupe, cucumbers, summer squash, strawberries, beans, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, carrots, tomatoes, apple trees, pear trees, peach trees, cherry trees, raspberry and blackberry plants.
Those assisting with the grant are Zana Manche, agriculture education instructor, and Eric Schrag, administrator at Bethesda Home in Goessel.
Long-term goals include some involvement with agriculture students at the high school and their greenhouse.
“We are also exploring involvement with senior citizens living independently at Bethesda,” Fast said.
Yoder and Fast presented this program to the state-wide Nutrition and Wellness Leadership Conference in Salina Saturday, Oct. 8.