Local Grown: From Oak View’s garden in Bloomfield to Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair
Oak View School In Bloomfield has been harvesting vegetables from their garden since the end of June according to Oak View School parent Jan Greco. Greco said, “The school has made three enormous donations to Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair.”
They recently dropped off three bunches of broccoli, three eggplants, a head of cabbage, two dozen peppers including hot, banana and purple bell, two cucumbers, three radishes, a red onion, a bunch of herbs and one strawberry. They also planted watermelon and corn.
The garden is watched and assisted by family volunteers of the school. It is funded from the Home and School Association, local business and school community donations and a passionate group of parents who believe school gardens can offer our children a learning opportunity that can change their perception of the world. It was built by a group of parents and children in the rain after multiple weather delays including the spring snowstorm.
The garden is called a “Giving Garden” because the plan was to donate any food harvested from the garden to Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair.
The goal is to not only teach the children about gardening, but to also help students gain an understanding of the value of volunteerism and to foster a deeper connection to nature and the world at large.
In the early spring kindergarten and first grade teachers and parents started vegetable seeds in the classrooms. Then in May 12 the seedlings (as well as prestarted plants) were transplanted into the garden. The kids choose their vegetables, dug holes, planted and watered.
A parent committee is developing an extra curricular “After School in the Garden” program for students interested in learning more about gardening, composting, etc. The program kicked off with a quick discussion about earthworms.
The first harvest was during the last week of school. The students were able to pull radishes, cut lettuce, harvest dinosaur kale, collard greens and see their efforts which begun over the winter come to fruition.