Nackawic Middle School students have put their green thumbs to work to grow fresh vegetables for the school's new Garden Backpack program. They began planting in the late spring of 2018 and this fall began to harvest their crops for sharing with other students and their families.
Teacher Peggy Allen said garden club students began by planting seedlings in pots and as they grew moved the plants to outdoor garden boxes near the school. Care continued with watering and weeding throughout the summer months.
"The crops grew to a bountiful yield," said Allen. "By September, we were ready to begin the Garden Backpack program."
Student volunteers from the garden club and others participated in harvesting, washing and filling backpacks with zucchinis, cucumbers, green peppers, beets, carrots and butternut squash. The program provided deserving students and their families with fresh produce for two consecutive weeks.
"This is the first year for the Garden Backpack program initiative," Allen explained. "As student interest continues to grow, we hope the program will benefit many more students in the future."
School garden clubs provide many educational opportunities for youth who are introduced to gardening techniques, food production, recognition of plants and an appreciation for nature. Gardening also offers an engaging connection to science and food nutrition. Students take pride in their accomplishments, learn about healthy food and give back to their community.