ChicopeeFRESH is thrilled to announce the creation of a new after school garden club at Stefanik Elementary School this spring! The Stefanik garden was planted at the end of last school year, made possible by a grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation. Thanks to efforts by Stefanik Principal, Ginger Coleman, FoodCorps Service Member, Greta Shwachman, and Paraprofessional, Jo Hastings-Bineault, the garden will begin engaging students in April 2016.
The new garden club will be co-led by Greta Shwachman and Jo Hastings-Bineault, and will meet twice a week after school for an hour. The club will be offered to third and fourth graders, and will have a membership of approximately 15 students in its first year. All interested 3rd and 4th graders are encouraged to sign up in a timely fashion, as it will be first come first serve! (Sign-up information to be distributed later in the school year).
Students will plant, tend, and harvest the garden from April through June and September through early November. Families are encouraged to get involved and harvest garden produce, especially over the summer! (Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can get involved with the Stefanik garden).
Students will have the opportunity to grow a variety of foods in the garden’s four raised beds, including herbs, tomatoes, squash, peas, strawberries, eggplant, cucumbers, etc. What’s more, students will learn how to prepare delicious and healthy meals with the foods that they grow. There will also be opportunities to utilize garden produce in school-wide cafeteria taste tests.
School gardens are a crucial component in getting students to try new and healthy foods. Studies show that if kids grow tomatoes, they’re far more likely to eat them! We’re confident that the garden club, along with monthly cafeteria taste tests, will inspire Stefanik students to be more adventurous eaters and healthier individuals for the rest of their lives.
You can watch a segment on the Stefanik garden club during this month's Bell to Bell local access program here. (Watch from 12:55).
The ChicopeeFRESH team is a group of creative individuals who are working to feed Chicopee students healthy, local and FRESH foods each day.