Elementary students bring food from farm to table
Johnston-McQueen Elementary 3rd Grade students and staff have been spending the past month creating an oasis of gardening that has been admired by all.
Spearheaded by JMQ 3rd Grade teacher Gail Stephens and constructed by LISD maintenance team members Kevin Payne and Mike Gipson, the garden has became the talk of proud students, parents, and the local community.
After constructing the beds, Gipson and Payne installed an underground watering system of pipes, filled the newly constructed beds with gravel and soil, making the raised beds ready for planting. The garden is organic and chicken manure is the fertilizer of choice.
Project coordinator Stephens, accompanied by Cafeteria Manager Angie Vanzandt and staffer Patty Williams, harvested the first crop of lettuce leaves. The farm-to-table operation, initiated this fall as a 3rd-grade project, will ultimately bring fresh organic produce to our cafeteria menu.
"Our first harvest from the garden was cabbage and strawberries," Stephens said. "Students pick weeds as one of the many responsibilities in maintaining the garden. Students spread hay around the raised beds to hold the soil in place and keep the work area tidy and clean."
Stephens said a number of area residents have shared their excitment about seeing the raised garden from Highway 259.
"One community member expressed joy at seeing the children working on a real-world project," she said. "Another neighbor wrote a note to the principal to tell her that this side entrance of the school has never looked better!"