In the late summer and early spring, we field numerous calls and email inquiries here at the Greensboro Children’s Museum about getting school garden projects started. Now, in addition to naming a few schools in the county with successful models to follow, suggesting that the would be gardeners come visit the garden here and meet with Edible Schoolyard staff, and reminding people to check with the Guilford County Agricultural Extension office, there is a new resource available to these schools. The Guilford County School Garden Network began about a year ago as a loosely affiliated group of people from various local schools organized by the Extension service. Any and all people involved in school gardening-from “almost started” gardens to well established ones-have an opportunity to gather and discuss challenges and to plan for future success at these network meetings. Thanks to grant funding, the program has a part-time staff of one dedicated, experienced school garden coordinator. Hired over the summer, the first school garden network coordinator, Cynthia Nielsen, has taken on the work of organizing this growing network. A former middle school teacher with 16 years of science teaching experience in Guilford County, Cynthia taught an elective garden class for the last seven years. The first meeting for this school year will be held on September 20 at 6 pm at the Cooperative Extension building at 3309 Burlington Rd, Greensboro, NC.
“We believe in the power of the potluck, so bring something simple (to share) if you like,” wrote Nielsen in her recent email.
Parents, PTA members, teachers, folks from the Ag. extension office and the Greensboro Children’s Museum, and other interested parties will continue to build on the plans laid last year by founding members of the network. We are fortunate to have many people with interest, enthusiasm, experience, and expertise to help expand them number of schools with successful garden based learning from a handful to hopefully several dozen in the coming year. Oh, the things we will grow!