P.S. 39 in Park Slope launched their Community Garden on March 30. Located in the concrete schoolyard, the garden utilizes the container gardening method, where vegetables are grown inside twenty boxes and eight planters. The garden is a teaching tool that will be incorporated into the science curriculum. Frieda Lim, creator of the Slipper Slope Farm, a Brooklyn sub-irrigated rooftop farm and Trisha Mulligan, a gardener and herbalist, will teach the science enrichment cluster about botany. The hope is that an accessible garden in school will foster a connection in the children with the natural environment around them.
According to Grow to Learn NYC, the Citywide School Gardens Initiative, only a few public schools have an active school garden program. While not part of the initiative, the P.S. 39 project reflects a growing consciousness towards the benefits of a connection with nature.
All plants will be edible and students will be exposed to the cyclical crop cycle. “We will keep planting revolving crops,” said Mulligan, referring to the tomatoes and peppers seedlings that will be started after the radishes appear. Decorative herbs will also be harvested in barrels.
“The idea was to demonstrate that we could do this inexpensively and quickly,” said Lim. Both Mulligan and Lim funded the whole project and put in a starter fee of $ 500 at $250 each.
Students have already planted greens, radishes, carrots, peas and beans. While the garden isn’t big enough to cater to the school lunchroom, the goal is to introduce the concept of healthy eating and allow kids to sample seasonal produce.