Fourth grade teacher and Science Coach Chris Treat has been leading students and teachers at Monroe Elementary School in a school-wide gardening effort. He also provides lesson plans for the teachers to implement with their students in the garden. Each student has had the opportunity to plant in the school garden this year and many crops were started from seed in the cafeteria while others were transplants.
This season, they'll be at The Monroe Farmers' Market selling some of what they've grown, including beans, beets, carrots, lettuce, peas, peppers, radishes, tomatoes, herbs, cut flowers and sunflowers.
Organic growing methods are being used in the garden. "We are using the square foot garden method in raised beds with organic soil and compost." says Treat. "We are also planting a Native American garden."
This effort - if you'll pardon the pun - has strong roots in the community as well. Soil was donated by Pond Springs (owners George & Stacey Bahgdady have 3 children at the school), the PTO donated a substantial amount of money to get the garden started and a local farm gave a partial donation in transplants. A community member generously donated garden tables for the garden classroom.
Families whose children attend Monroe Elementary have volunteered to water and take care of the garden on weekends and teachers and staff are invited to participate in all efforts. Volunteers will continue this work for the entire Summer as well as take care of harvesting and running sales at the farmers' market.
If you'd like to contribute, students will be collecting the old small blue recycling bins that have been replaced by the larger recycling totes in order to support their school-wide recycling program. The program was implemented this year and will continue into next year. Monroe residents can bring their cleaned out bins to the market for this collection effort.
The Monroe Farmers' Market is open June–October and offers fresh, locally-grown produce, baked goods, prepared foods and hand-crafted specialty foods to Connecticut locals.