ASD to add gardens at all Aberdeen schools

This fall, schools in Aberdeen will have some new features.

The Aberdeen School District announced that projects to build a garden at every school in the district are underway.

The project is intended to intended as a way to incorporate garden science into the school curriculum, as well as student-grown produce into the school lunch program.

The district says that it’s been enthusiastically received by WSU’s Master Gardener program, the Washington State Department of Agriculture, and the Pacific Education Institute (PEI).

According to Superintendent Alicia Henderson, the idea was hatched during discussions this past spring about student health and wellness after a year of social distancing and grab-and-go, pre-packaged lunches.

“We know the pandemic has been hard on our students in many ways,” she said. “We were talking about how can we get them outside, doing something healthy and active. One thing led to another. I’ve been amazed at the number of people who have come forward and want to participate. Every time we meet, it seems more people attend.”

A team of students is working with the Maintenance Department this summer to build the gardens.

Teachers will soon be working to align the current STEM curriculum at every grade level. 

Superintendent Henderson noted that the idea of gardening at school isn’t entirely new to the district as the high school has a highly regarded horticulture program under science teacher Mike Machowek.

“The intent is for it to be seamless,” Superintendent Henderson said. “We want to incorporate the gardens into what we are already doing with instruction.”

The state Department of Agriculture’s Farm-to-School Program will help the district explore ways to bring locally grown food into the School Lunch program.

“We spend a lot of money on food for our students,” Dr. Henderson said. “To the extent that we can, we would like to purchase from local or regional farms.”

“We are very excited for the return to a regular schedule this fall and the opportunity to fully focus on the education and health of our students,” she concluded.