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The After-School Garden Club

Not the best name, we know. We’re not being lazy. The students who join the club will be tasked with formulating its name, mission, and vision.

With Brent Wearren (aka Farmer B), Amy Spadafora-Thomas, and Ashley Trexler assisting, the garden club will develop and document the process of becoming a self-sustaining school garden program.

 
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The Purpose

To develop a school-wide garden program that pays for itself (self-sustaining) and gives back to the community at the same time within three (3) years.

To do this, we envision the installation of a large Edible Garden and Community Garden that will provide a perennial source of fundraising product and fresh food for local families in need. The approximate cost is $15,000. We noticed how much students in the Oak Room enjoy selling at the farmer’s market and the popularity of MRM’s Garden Program. By combining these two passions into one after-school club, we hope to encourage our students to take matters into their own hands and create a more sustainable future for the garden program and local community.

At the same time, Garden Committee members Ashley Trexler and Laura Fraser are exploring grant opportunities to assist with funding. If you have any ideas for grants or funding, please contact Ashley Trexler at 843.301.8550 or ashley(at)wysify.com. Sponsors will be recognized with a permanent plaque on the front fence of the garden, facing Calhoun Street.

 
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The Goal

The Garden Club’s mission is to fundraise and oversee the development of the Edible and Sustainable Gardening Initiative at May River Montessori. Students of the after-school club are charged with developing the after-school club program to align with the values of a healthy and productive world: the planning, development, and execution of a food program that is self-sustaining and gives back to the community at the local level.

 
planned site for our sustainable gardening initiative

planned site for our sustainable gardening initiative

1. Organic & Sustainable Gardening Practices

The Garden Club will oversee the planting, growing, harvesting, and selling of produce grown in a dedicated front garden club space. First order of business is planting herbs to grow and sell at market in early spring in the new Herb Garden.

elvie devers with brent wearren, aka “farmer B'“

elvie devers with brent wearren, aka “farmer B'“

2. Business & Not-For-Profit Development

Students are charged with developing the club’s name, defining its mission statement, and researching and selling products and produce to the local community to raise funds for the planned Edible Garden. From accounting to branding to website development, students will explore what it takes to launch both a successful entrepreneurial venture and a non-profit program.

the MRM Garden program is ready to pay it forward

the MRM Garden program is ready to pay it forward

3. Give Back To Local Community

A healthy portion of MRM’s harvest will be donated on a weekly basis to local foods banks, to provide fresh food for our local families in need. Club members are responsible for gathering, sorting, and preparing fresh foods for local food bank delivery.

 
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Step 1: First things first

We need product to sell at the farmer’s market.

Meet the new Herb Garden, where the club is tasked with growing herbs to sell at the local farmer’s market in early spring. We will be sowing cilantro, parsley, and chives and the club will oversee this new herb bed.

The club will meet on Monday afternoons to start, from 2:45-3:45 pm. Students will develop a name, mission, logo, and plan for the club.

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Step 2: Next up

It’s time to sell!

In early spring, the club will also begin meeting on Thursdays after school (optional) so students can sell their harvest at market. The club will also develop additional products to sell at market and to local business, such as mesh produce bags and themed planters.

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Step 3: Little by little

We’ll fundraise, apply for grants, and plan the future Edible and Community Gardens.

The plan is to re-develop the front garden area to allow for an edible, perennial, and lower-maintenance garden. Plants like fruit trees, blackberry bushes, herbs and more will be installed. A greenhouse will eventually be built on the property to allow for year-round planting and student education and growth.

What Students can expect if they join the club

In the first two months, the after-school club is charged with:

  • planting and caring for the new herb bed in the front garden

  • assisting Farmer B with organic gardening tasks

  • selecting a name

  • crafting a tag line and mission statement

  • designing a logo (w/expert assistance)

  • defining short-term and long-term goals

  • researching product to sell at spring market

  • prepping product for sale

    Need To know

  • Club is limited to 15 students in grades K-6

  • Whenever possible, club will gather extra produce for delivery to Bluffton Self-Help Food Bank

  • Students will alternate between working with Farmer B in the garden and Ashley in product development/marketing

  • Farmer B has high expectations students who join are ready to pitch in and help

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Need To Know

Email the front office to register your child ASAP (15 max)

Informational Session Monday, Feb. 4, 2:45 pm, in the front garden

Club begins February 11

Every Monday (excluding breaks) from 2:45-3:45 pm.

$50 per 4 sessions, payable via check to MRM