Garden Spotlight: Westminster Community School Garden

Third graders harvesting kale

For the past seven years, Westminster Community School Garden has been a great success and a valuable centerpiece to the community. The school­-wide garden teaches kids where food comes from and provides them with healthy food and better habits. The garden took root in the classroom kitchen of first and second grade teacher Irene Canaris.  With the help of a grant written by the parent of a previous student, she created a healthy all school snack program and after school program. The year that she retired from teaching, the school received yet another grant to fund the position of a School Garden Coordinator. Irene filled the position, which helps to connect kitchen staff with local food resources and create year-round garden curriculum with planting in the spring, harvesting and storing in the fall, and cooking and science experiments all winter. During the summer months, the garden is maintained by the six week summer program camp for students and an eight-week HCRS crew of teens. Paul Harlow of Harlow Farm, the farmer sponsor of the school garden, helps support the garden by providing cold crop storage, and seedling care in his greenhouse.  Many parents and volunteers also help out with everything from weeding to welding. The school garden brings families together with potlucks and monthly cooking classes for young parents. Among the group’s hopes for the future is creating raised beds for families in the Westminster subsidized housing project.

“I think the most wonderful aspect of our garden is the opportunity it affords for outdoor learning. We call it our outdoor classroom.” – Irene

– Jocelyn Morin

For more photos and more about Westminster Community School Garden, visit their blog

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