School garden grant winners cropping up

The California Fertilizer Foundation (CFF) announces the latest crop of school garden grant winners. The six schools awarded grants for the first quarter of 2004 range from elementary to high schools from and from Carlsbad in the south to Stonyford in the north.

John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica uses their garden as part of classroom learning, a garden club and cafeteria supplement. Students and teachers who participate in the school's “Salad Bar Gardens Co-Op” get free salad bar lunch for their students. The teachers also use the gardens to help illustrate lessons in math, science and literature.

The Charter School of Morgan Hill was selected for a start-up garden grant because of their tenacity for garden education. During its first two and an half years of operation, the public charter school was located in an 18,000-square-foot retail facility with limited opportunities for an outside garden. Not to be thwarted, the Agricultural Sciences teacher cultivated an indoor herb garden for use in science and business education.

Clinton B. Nielson High School in Stonyford was selected to receive a grant because of the horticulture therapy the garden provides for the students at Fouts Springs Youth Facility, a juvenile detention facility.

Calavera Hills Elementary School in Carlsbad was selected as a first quarter 2004 winner after not being selected in 2003. “Our program lacks tools, gloves, a garden cart, seeds, plants — but it has a group of very interested and eager fifth and second grade students ready to grow!” wrote Mrs. Estep, the fifth grad teacher responsible for the garden.

Christine Sipherd Elementary School in Modesto is a case study on how to use all of the agricultural and educational resources available to schools to develop, promote and continue a school garden program. Led by Modesto Garden Club member and third grade teacher Jenlane Gee, the Sipherd Snapdragons Garden Club and elementary students have participated in the Plant Doctor Program to learn about fertilizers and weeds and instituted a Weed Patrol program to keep the grounds looking nice.

Baird Middle School in Fresno has enjoyed seven years of school gardens and the California Fertilizer Foundation school garden grant will hopefully ensure seven more years. The commitment to garden education, led by agriculture teacher Joey Somawang has extended far past the limits of the middle school campus. Baird has reached out to help over 20 other schools with gardening models, garden tours, plants, irrigation parts, workshops and manual labor.

Applications from after school programs, garden clubs, 4-H and FFA programs are eligible as well. At the end of the year, CFF grant winners from the fourth quarter 2003 through the third quarter of 2004 will be invited to reapply for a progress grant of $1,500 and an agricultural field trip. The next deadline for grant applications, available at, is Sept. 15, 2004.

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