Over the past year, local businesses, parents and community members banded together to support the installation of the very first student garden at Frenchtown Elementary School. Led by a small, passionate and dedicated group of parents, the community raised money through GoFundMe, reaching their goal in 30 days, and in addition, received supply donations from several local businesses.
“It was incredible to witness the amount of support this garden inspired. People were coming out of the woodwork to offer their help,” said Leigh Marino, one of the garden organizers. “One community member confessed that we were fulfilling a life-long dream of his – building this school garden was on his bucket list. How amazing is that?”
The layout of the garden was designed by parent Eric Fiorito, a local filmmaker and garden enthusiast. Other key members of the parent committee were Frankie Gvertz, Jessikah Humphrey, Director of Secret Garden Montessori; Melissa Olson, Owner of Euphoria Studio; and Grace Stearns.
Frenchtown Elementary will host an after school garden club this spring with the intention to introduce garden curriculum into school hours in the near future. Inspired by The Edible Schoolyard (edibleschoolyard.org), the garden club teachers, Jessikah Humphrey and Grace Stearns, plan to teach the children about garden safety, healthy soil composition, composting, growing edible flowers, cultivating herbs for making tea, and of course how to grow, care for, and harvest vegetables.
With 25 children registered (students from grades 1-6), the first garden club meeting was a success.
Written by Leigh Marino
This article appeared in the Bucks County Herald on May 26, 2016.