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Eco-Friendly: FUSD Launches a School Garden Network
Posted 9/2/22

group in garden

The FUSD School Garden Network launched August 26 at John F. Kennedy High School with Chef Mari Moschetti, a Culinary Arts teacher, inviting participants to make infused water and enjoy a treat baked with produce from the school’s culinary gardens, grounding the occasion in the joy maintaining a garden can bring.

person holding water glass and bottle
Chef Mari Moschetti holding water infused with herbs and fruit from Kennedy High School's culinary gardens.

The Network is establishing a community of practice, bringing those leading school gardens together to share ideas, learn from each other and solve common challenges. Approximately half of FUSD’s schools have gardens, and a key feature of the Network will be meeting at different gardens throughout the year.

“We really have the opportunity to go to different campuses and see different ideas, models, programs and approaches to gardens,” said Instructional Coach Nate Ivy, who is leading the Network, before welcoming Moschetti to talk about the garden she leads at Kennedy as the Green Ventures Academy (GVA) Coordinator. 

students wheat growing in raised bed
A student's wheat plant in one of Kennedy High School's culinary gardens.

Much of the produce used in the GVA program is grown at Kennedy’s culinary gardens, and participating students help maintain the spaces during the school year, with some volunteering to help over school breaks as well.

“The students are invested in the program,” said Moschetti, who is a Mission Valley Regional Occupational Program teacher based at Kennedy. “I think that’s the biggest thing, getting buy-in. Whether it’s elementary kids and they’re planting a pumpkin seed and then they get to see the pumpkin in the end, or getting parents to buy into your program to help.” 

shady garden with people in it
School Garden Network attendees tour Kennedy High School's gardens.

Moschetti led participants on a tour of Kennedy's gardens, which are spread throughout the campus and provide not only produce, but also shade and calming, green spaces.

Students at Kennedy and many other schools with gardens have an opportunity to dig into these spaces and learn to nurture plants. More and more, educators are connecting this work to instruction about climate literacy, solutions and action. 

garden space on school campus
One of the gardens on the Kennedy High School campus.

“We are charged with providing our students an understanding of our planet and their responsibility to it,” said Superintendent CJ Cammack. “Our Board of Education set long-term goals for ensuring our students are climate literate, and part of that is encouraging each student to connect to nature and become invested in the health of our planet.”

Two Board-approved resolutions serve as inspiration and an anchor for this work.

In February 2022, FUSD’s Board of Education adopted “The Roosevelt Resolution,” a resolution championed by the Thornton Junior High School Energy & Sustainability Club, that outlines a commitment to transitioning to a zero-waste to landfill entity. The Resolution highlights the importance of educational opportunities that promote environmental stewardship as “essential to training up climate literate citizens.”

classroom with group listening to speaker
Instructional Coach Nate Ivy addresses School Garden Network meeting attendees at Kennedy High School.

The Roosevelt Resolution builds upon Resolution No. 030-2021, brought forward on behalf of a group of FUSD high school students and adopted by the Board in May 2021, that declared FUSD’s commitment to educating students on climate change and climate solutions. 

FUSD’s Curriculum and Instruction Department is developing a plan to build climate literacy into instruction, much as it did with curriculum for the 2022 Summer Academies

people kneeling by garden bed with others in background
School Garden Network attendees tour Kennedy High School's gardens.

“One of the key ideas in the plan is that we need to be really mindful about helping students connect with nature. It’s not enough to learn about climate in the classroom, it’s not enough to learn about the challenges; we need that physical, emotional connection with nature, and we need opportunities to empower ourselves and our students to face these challenges,” said Ivy, who is involved in building students’ climate literacy as an instructional coach, during the inaugural School Garden Network meeting.

people posting notes on wall
School Garden Network attendees suggest future meeting topics and thank Kennedy High School for hosting the inaugural meeting.

An important element of this effort is creating and/or maintaining spaces for students to experience this connection. Attendees at the first Network meeting suggested topics on how this can be supported for future meetings, including how to start a garden, how to create shade, timing for planting, and how to get others engaged with and supporting these efforts. 

The effort involved in maintaining a school garden was discussed in a story from May 2022 about some of our school gardens, including Washington High School’s efforts to transform a once unusable space near the school’s Wellness Center into a calming garden with fruiting trees and beds to cultivate edible plants. 

More Eco-Friendly news is posted on our website. Look out for more stories and updates on the amazing work being done in our school community.

 

 


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