On November 21, a group of students, parents, teachers and members of the community gathered to put together raised beds for a new Mamaroneck Community Garden at Mamaroneck Avenue School.
A grant from Rye YMCA Activate supports the development of the new garden, which will be dedicated to growing vegetables. There will be seven raised beds on the sunny Mamaroneck Avenue side of the school, between the front building and the athletic field.
The Mamaroneck Community Garden is designed as a living laboratory. Students, families, and community members will work together on the garden in ways that are expected to offer opportunities for academic, emotional and social development of the children. The garden will consist of year-round, seasonal vegetation that will be planted, sowed, and harvested by the students and their adult helpers.
Student participation is planned for all aspects of the seed-to-table experience. Students will prepare beds, plant seeds and seedlings, tend crops and harvest produce. These activities are designed to help the children understand the cycle of food production and develop an increased interest in eating healthy, nutritious food.
“What we eat affects everything: our mood, behavior, health, growth, even our ability to concentrate and learn,” says Susan Longo, MAS Pre-Kindergarten teacher. ” So it’s important that fresh, nutritious foods be a component of every student’s diet. Growing fruits and vegetable in our garden will improve our students’ attitudes toward healthy foods and will hopefully motivate reluctant eaters to try new foods. We hope that our garden will be a hands-on tool for lessons on nutrition and maintaining a healthy diet.”
“In addition, the garden will provide lots of opportunities to expand the curriculum outside the classroom,” adds MAS kindergarten teacher Janet Knight. “The garden will encourage inquiry as students use their senses, reasoning, and communication skills to find answers to questions. It will also introduce students to a new, non-sports related form of physical activity.”
In November, the volunteers gathered to put together the raised beds from Frame- It -All. Anthony Topping, president of the company, helped organize the event and was on-hand to help assemble the beds.
“Frame- It- All composite timbers are manufactured from 60% recycled, post-consumer plastic and 40% wood flour,” explained Mr. Topping. “They do not rot, splinter, warp or lose their color. We see this garden as a very special part of our school and we hope to build on this project for years to come.”
After a few hours and once the raised beds were in place, Gedney Farms — a wholesale nursery and landscaper located in White Plains — delivered organic soil to the Mamaroneck Community Garden. Now, the raised beds are ready for early spring planting.