Somerset Academy Losee Campus 2017 Garden Project
Somerset Academy garden will engage educators and students while building a community through environmental improvement .
About this Project [+]
Somerset Academy has a vision to create an outdoor learning environment where students can get their hands dirty both literally and figuratively while learning math, science, art and coming away with an increased respect for the hard work and many processes that go into producing the food that they eat every day. Cooking lessons and professional chef demonstrations will be incorporated into this project to provide students a broader background in not only the food growth process, but also in the final step of food preparation safety and techniques. These lessons also enrich the students' development and understanding of math and science through use of measurements, and monitoring their own consumption and proportions' nutritional values and calorie intake and expenditure. Our student body including grades K-12 will learn how to garden, harvest and sell the fruits of their labor. This will also promote the benefits of providing fresh produce to their community and peers while offering a unique, hands-on experience for all involved.
Problem that we are solving
There is an obesity epidemic in the United States that is increasingly affecting children. According to the American Heart Association, one in three American children is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1971. One way of counteracting this epidemic, is to teach children about nutrition which can only begin with an understanding of how food is grown. “Students involved with school gardens generally take pleasure in learning and show positive attitudes towards education". (Dirks and Orvis, 2005)
How we solve the problem
“Students who participated in school gardening activities increased their vegetable consumption and the variety of vegetables eaten.” (Ratcliffe, 2011)
“Consumption of fruits and vegetables, as a habit in childhood, is an important predictor of higher fruit and vegetable consumption as adults and can help to prevent or delay chronic disease conditions.” (Heimendinger and Van Duyn, 1995)
“Students who have school garden programs incorporated into their science curriculum score significantly higher on science achievement tests than students who are taught by strictly traditional classroom methods.” (Klemmer, Waliczek and Zajicek , 2005)
“In a project that involved integrating and gardening among children in grades one through four, the outcomes went well beyond an understanding of good nutrition and the origin of fresh food, to include enhancing the quality and meaningfulness.” (Canaris, Irene, 1995)
This garden will be installed by our community, students, and educators with the assistance of Garden Farms of Las Vegas, which has already installed a number of successful school gardens across the valley. Upon the final stage of the garden's completion, the school will have 18 raised garden beds each measuring 4’ x 8’ x 11’ built of redwood lumber, steel stakes, Garden Farms soil, and a water-efficient top-drip irrigation system. In addition to the garden beds, multiple fruit and citrus trees will be planted as well as incorporating a trellis with berry and grape vines.
The aforementioned evidence as well as potential benefits are just some of the many reasons for creating our school garden. In addition, the garden will also contribute to meeting Nevada's recently added adopted Twenty-first Century course expectations. Our school believes in opening doors to post-secondary education and workforce opportunities. By the time our seniors graduate high school they will be required to have a total of 100 community service hours. Assisting in our garden and during our farmer's market, will help the students acquire those hours needed to fulfill this requirement. We believe having a school garden and implementing a farmers market will help benefit all students within our community by mastering the skills of managing money and time, marketing skills and by providing important business acumen. Most importantly, our students will have a sense of pride in their accomplishments as well as the community and their school.