Students dig Farm to School Project
Sam Green/Cortez Journal
During X-block, Mancos Middle School seventh-grader Scotty Sword was the first to volunteer Monday afternoon. It then took him about 10 minutes to harvest two heads of cabbage. In his defense, he was using a dull knife.
"I love cabbage," he said, "but I never knew cabbage was so hard to cut."
Sword was one of a handful of schoolboys dispatched to the school's garden during the last period of the day on Monday. Teachers call it X-Block, a time when students can receive extra instruction if needed; express creativity through art, drama or music courses; or, bend over, squat down and reap what's ultimately served on their lunch lines.
"The kids are pretty jazzed when they get to see what they've grown inside the cafeteria," said Mancos School District superintendant Brian Hanson.
Last school year, students helped dig, water, weed and harvest some 500 pounds of fresh produce from their living classroom - complete with carrots, radishes, onions, multiple herbs, varieties of lettuce, peas, potatoes and corn, just to name a few. Hanson described the green space as a fun, outdoor learning environment.
"The students enjoy working in the garden, and our health and science teachers can incorporate it into their classroom curriculums," he said.
In order for Sword and his peers to harvest Monday's bounty, school garden coordinator Erin Bohm led a team of volunteers over summer vacation who tended to the vegetable patch. She was quick, however, to highlight the students' hard work and commitment.
"The students need these life skills to be successful citizens," she said.
Officials hope to expand the project with future greenhouses, but for now, Bohm is working to extend the life and bounty of the garden as early in the spring and late into the fall as possible. Last week, Bohm and the students harvested enough basil to produce 10 cups of pesto, which was used in the cafeteria for turkey pesto wraps.
"The garden is awesome," said Sword.