As part of its effort to teach more people about the value of gardens and sustainable life, Schoolyard Roots is planting more gardens at more schools.
On Saturday, volunteers with the group, formerly known as the Druid City Garden Project, came together to build a garden classroom at University Place Elementary School. The garden, which will include 10 beds covering 8 feet by 8 feet each, will be used to teach students how grow vegetables and how gardening can be used in daily school activities.
Each grade level at the school will have its own garden bed to take care of.
“We use gardens as teaching tools,” said Lindsey Turner Trammell, executive director of Schoolyard Roots.
When the group was known as the Druid City Garden Project, volunteers had created a garden at the school in 2010, the same year the program was started. However, the program changed over the years and the school’s garden was not properly maintained as the group became less involved with the school.
This year, Schoolyard Roots has developed curriculum that teachers can use to work in the garden on a regular basis. Brian Rose, assistant principal at University Place, said a coordinator will also work with the school on how to best use the garden, as well as how to use different academic fields, such as math and science, to learn more about gardening.
“The plan through Schoolyard Roots is that through the school, each student would have planted every different kind of vegetable by the time they leave here,” Rose said.
Trammell said the goal of Schoolyard Roots is to make gardening and healthier learning part of a hands-on experience for students that they can carry with them as they grow older.
“We think it’s a universal right that everyone should have access to healthy and affordable food,” she said.
Rose said teachers have already gone through professional development to learn how to take care of plants, as well as how to cook them. In the past, students at University Place have used their garden to have vegetable sales, something Rose hopes will continue.
“I’ve been a big fan of this program from the beginning,” Rose said. “Nothing makes me more excited about rebooting this garden because they have been with us from the beginning.”
There are currently 10 gardens that have been completed by Schoolyard Roots across the Tuscaloosa area, with plans to expand. On Aug. 19, the group will plant another garden at Buhl Elementary School.
For more information on how to get involved or volunteer, visit schoolyardroots.org.
Reach Drew Taylor at email@example.com or 205-722-0204.