Big Green is super excited to be working with our newest district partner in Colorado – JeffCo Public Schools! JeffCo is the second largest school district in the state of Colorado, enrolling over 86,000 students across 155 schools, second only to its neighboring district of Denver Public Schools.
Due to a partnership forged between the district, Big Green, and the City of Arvada, we were able to install two brand new Learning Gardens this Summer. We officially broke ground at Edgewater ES and Arvada K-8 early this Fall! A huge Thank You! is due to Jessica Prosser of the City of Arvada and Emily O’Winter of JeffCo, who were both instrumental in bringing Big Green Learning Gardens into the district!
Edgewater Elementary School
The official Kick-Off Day took place on Friday, August 18th. The weather was beautiful and the excitement was palpable in every class that participated.
The first half of the day consisted of filling the Learning Garden beds with 7.5 yards of soil. The students did all the hard work, lifting the 2 cubic foot bags in groups of 2, class by class, until the beds were full. Every group that came out during the morning session gladly broke up large chunks of compressed soil, priming the way for the planting that would happen later on.
The latter half of the day was spent planting a 35 day salad garden. The students who came out either planted Spinach, Radishes, Peas, or Lettuce. By the end of the day, the school had officially built their Learning Garden!
I’m happy to report that the school successfully grew their crops and were able to enjoy their first Learning Garden Harvest! Below is a recently received e-mail from Beverly, the Garden Team Lead at the school:
“Today Kim and I worked with each 3rd grade class. We set up stations for all the kids to be involved. There was a weigh station, washing, cutting, mixing the salad. All students enjoyed a personal salad (with dressing and croutons!) And over 65 kids took home a salad to share with their families at dinner tonight! It was a lot of work! But a great first experience.” -Bev
Way to go Edgewater!
What a Kick-Off we had at Arvada K-8! It seemed like everyone wanted to join in on the fun (you can watch a great video HERE). Our founder Kimbal Musk was out with some close friends to partake in the festivities, along with several volunteer parents, JeffCo press, Arvada Press, the whole Colorado team, AND of course all of the students and teachers throughout the day.
We worked with grades ranging from Kindergarten through 8th grade throughout the day. However, one of the highlights was watching the 8th grade Leadership class teach Kindergartners how to plant seeds! It was truly inspiring to see these young men and women leading by example. I’m also happy to report that this didn’t just occur on the Kick-Off day. The same Leadership class is still working with the same Kindergartners to water the garden together on a weekly basis!!!!
It’s also worthwhile to note that the last class of the day was able to taste a dish from Big Green’s Garden Bites Health and Nutrition Curriculum. Students planted Kale seeds before being presented with a Kale Chickpea Salad. I commend all the students for being brave enough to try the dish for the first time. I was even told by one of them that the salad scored a 1 million out of 100. Those are high accolades indeed! You can watch another video of the day, with some shots of students tasting the salad HERE.
It’s always inspiring to see new Learning Garden schools take the initiative so quickly. The acceleration of the “Real Food Culture” is speeding along in JeffCo, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it!