Thanks to a $2,000 Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant funded by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the Horace Mann Elementary School community recently completed their teaching farm. The farm, made up of plum trees, apple trees, juneberry trees, strawberry and raspberry bushes and wild flowers, will be used to engage students in hands on learning about how food grows and sustainable farming.
The teaching farm is the result of a lot of planning and collaboration. Last summer, teachers Justin Meyers, Kristina Murphy and Ana Delgado joined Principal Shilpa Davé to work on the placement, design and budget for the project. The school’s Green Team and Grant Writing Committee researched and wrote the grant. Eric Blasco and Dave Siller, local farmers from ErB Food & Garden visited the school to teach students about the importance of knowing where their food comes from. Even the Horace Mann PTA pitched in, creating an online watering schedule to keep the farm healthy throughout the year.
Although the teaching farm is brand new, the project is already grabbing the attention of the students at Mann. “The biggest surprise was how much ownership the students took in planting the trees and the bushes,” stated Mann teacher Katie Collins. “They were interested and actively engaged in wanting to plant them properly so that the teaching farm could be a success.”
Check back here for updates as the Mann teaching garden grows!