Middle school garden club uses regenerative ag practices to reduce waste
RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. (WMTV) - A Richland Center elementary and middle school is using regenerative agriculture gardening methods to improve their garden where students grow fresh crops for school lunch and snacks.
After years of tearing the entire St. Mary School’s garden down, science teacher Mary Cooper and the garden club adapted to regenerative ag practices.
The club added raised garden beds to protect the soil damage, diversified companion crops and they leave crops with nutrients to fertilize the soil before it freezes over.
“We only have the soil that we have,” Cooper said.
She said diversified crops enrich the soil better for the future growth of natural snacks.
The process also helps to reduce waste. Instead of taking old plants and other things to a landfill, they are left on the soil to decompose and fertilize itself.
Garden club member and eighth grader Ava Gottschall helped plant rhubarb, which grew and was processed into jam.
“I have learned a lot about processing food and cooking with things we found from the garden,” Gottschall said.
Older students like Gottschall partner with Kindergartners to teach them about regenerative ag practices to improve the garden in the future.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s website explains that localizing school snacks and lunch is healthier and potentially cheaper. DPI will host a free menu planning workshop in Sheboygan on Oct. 6.
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