*Thuck* The shovel hit the damp sod again.
*Thuck* “It just looked like fun, I don’t do this very often,” freshman Morgan Fuller peeled back a lump of grass and clay and threw it over the fence and down the hill.
Morgan was one of the three Homer High School students who signed up Thursday to work on the Homer High School Garden which will need cleared of sod, terraced, and filled with soil before planting can begin.
At the moment there isn’t much enthusiasm surrounding the garden, just a chain link fence, but Mrs. Roberts, one of the three teachers heading the garden’s steering committee, has high hopes. Specifically she hopes to model the garden after the Fairbanks EATinG program where gardens play a large role in the school and the community.
All the teachers involved in the program have some general goals they agree on, such as increasing sustainability, raising awareness of where food comes from, and sharing the produce with the school in the form of a cookout or potlatch. Mr. Tucker, another member of the steering committee, imagines the garden including as many students as possible from as many classes as possible, “Natural resources, welding, construction, sciences, language arts.” He feels that student involvement is vitally important, and would like to see the garden entirely managed by students with minimum instruction. Mrs. Jannetta, the third member of the steering committee and an avid gardener herself, feels that gardening is an important skill that students should have, and would like to see some of the garden produce eventually directed into the school lunches.
Of course the primary objective in the gardening program is promoting sustainability, and idea that is gaining attention in the southern Kenai Peninsula schools. The grant that is enabling the Homer High School Garden will also fund gardens at Flex, Fireweed, West homer as well as school and community gardens in Anchor Point, Ninilchik and Seldovia. These gardens are sponsored with sub-grants from the Homer Soil and Water Conservation District which was awarded the People’s Garden Grant by the United States Department of Agriculture to help them increase local produce and sustainable farming methods in the Homer area.
The garden is nowhere near many of its long term goals, at the moment it looks like this, in desperate need of students willing to spend time with shovels landscaping. However, the steering committee is interested in whatever it would take to get students involved, such as offering senior service hours, or even finding a way to grant students credit in the future. Students interested in volunteering can sign up for the FOL’s hosted by Mrs. Jannetta, Mr. Tucker and Mrs. Roberts, or help in one of the other 22 community gardens in the Homer area.