Category Archives: Teaching

Think spring with High Mowing Organic Seeds

top-seed-banner3With snowdrops pushing up through the white stuff around Albany, spring must be getting near. So it is time for many of us, and we hope for you, to start planning to produce spring-fresh tastes in your yard and to add color around Continue reading

With support, Vegetable Project season never ends

last-harvest-dec1We pulled up the last of our root vegetables last week – carrots, turnips and beets that we started from seed in late July and early August. But the Vegetable Project season is not nearly over (and really never is). For example, we will prepare some tasty dishes with these and more that we grew in the weeks ahead with our Myers Middle School Garden Club. And it is pretty safe Continue reading

Co-op supports donating to Vegetable Project

co-op-logoJust a quick word here to say that you can contribute to the Vegetable Project over the next three months if you shop at the Honest Weight Food Co-op. As many of you probably know, the Co-op encourages shoppers to give to a variety of community organizations the five cents they receive for each reusable shopping bag they bring with them. Cashiers give shoppers an Envirotoken for each bag. And then shoppers can place the Envirotokens with designated community groups on their way out of the store. The Vegetable Project is currently one of the beneficiaries of the program.

Please look for the Vegetable Project in the Envirotoken display next time you shop at the Co-op. And thanks so much to the Co-op, Albany’s natural and organic food market, for ongoing support of our work to grow healthy children in Albany with our garden-based teaching and learning.

–Bill Stoneman

An Evening in the Myers Garden to see our work

We started digging in the dirt at Myers Middle School in the fall of 2009. We have introduced hundreds and hundreds of kids to the tastes of fresh picked vegetables since then. We have created countless opportunities for hands-on teaching and evening-flier-2016learning in our afterschool Garden Club, in classrooms, with high school students working at summer jobs and more. We have gotten some of our produce out into the community, on the shelves of the Honest Weight Food Co-op and Cardona’s Market.

Still, we would love for so many more of our friends – those we know and those we have not yet met – to see what we have been up to lately. Won’t you please join us for an Evening in an EnchantedGarden on Wednesday Sept. 21, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. We will be offering garden tours and tastes and demonstrations. We’ll have music and a bit too eat!

We would love it as well if you would help us spread the word by sending the attached flier to your e-mail friends and a link to our Facebook event to your Facebook friends. https://www.facebook.com/events/1684769585179863/We are behind the school building, at 100 Elbel Court. With just a bit of luck, we’ll still have tomatoes on the vine. Hope to see you there.

— Bill Stoneman

Partnership opportunity for enterprising teachers

Cambridge pix2Help wanted: Seeking a classroom teacher, or maybe two or three, maybe a science teacher or maybe a family and consumer science teacher, but maybe something else as well, to partner with the Vegetable Project in curating our gardens and school yards as a class project and an alternative approach to teaching and learning. More than just name plants, we Continue reading

A better way to encourage healthy eating at school

6-2016, Bill Stoneman, Albany school gardens

A flashpoint of sorts in Michelle Obama’s push for healthy school lunches is a requirement since 2012 that schools make daily offerings of fruits and vegetables. The fine print plays out differently from one circumstance to another, but it mostly requires students to take fruits and vegetables on their trays. But then, as you might guess, huge portions of that healthy food go straight into the trash.

So one indignant camp scoffs at the requirements, formally issued by the U.S. Continue reading

A path through the garden to academic success

We spend so much of our energy growing peas and carrots and all sorts of other plants that we neglect at times to talk about a broader mission: to do our part in gCommunity Foundation logorowing healthy children. Working in schools where academic outcomes are often discouraging, we suspect that healthy, nurturing relationships with adults and educators can make a positive difference.

This thought about relationships, maybe call it mentoring, and perhaps the idea Continue reading

Why garden? Why the Vegetable Project?

What exactly drives us to build gardens at Albany schools and then lead kids out to them? Why would we bother with those time-consuming fundraising initiatives, like Boxtops for Education, and those time-consuming chores in the garden, like weeCompost pileding and watering? What is the big deal about growing some of our own lettuce and tomatoes, when it’s so cheap in the supermarket?

For one thing, people who know something about where their food comes from are likely to make healthier choices about what they eat. And kids who help grow lettuce and tomatoes are so much more likely to taste them. We regularly see kids try greens right after proclaiming that they “never eat anything that grows in dirt.”

These explanations, however, just begin to get at the good that can come from Continue reading

Cautiously starting to compost at Albany High

We are moving ever so gingerly toward composting fruit and vegetable scraps at Albany High. In time, this could be one of the best things we do.

Decomposition is aided by a mix of nitrogen-rich "green materials," such as fresh fruit scraps, and carbon-rich "brown" materials, such as dried plant stalks.

Decomposition is aided by a mix of nitrogen-rich “green materials,” such as fresh fruit scraps, and carbon-rich “brown” materials, such as dried plant stalks.

How, you wonder, could deadly dull composting ever compare to plucking beans and peas from the vine and popping them right in your mouth? How could it possibly compare with getting kids who say they don’t eat greens to try them and to then to declare that they truly like them? How could it provide the satisfaction of a fall harvest?

Well, we see the initiative as a route to engaging students in conversation about environmental challenges and the role that individuals can play in meeting these challenges. Composting can trim use of fossil fuel-dependent fertilizers. It can save landfill space. And it  Continue reading

Undeveloping school grounds to teach about nature

The grounds around Buckingham Pond, maybe a mile and a half from Albany High School, aren’t kept as tidy as we once expected our public parks to be. And with good reason, as explained on the sign in the first accompanying photograph. All the sculpting and groomiNo mow zoneng and lawn-mowing we subject hill and dale to in parks and office campuses and at golf courses and schoolyards destroy habitat that plants and animals depend on. And diverse populations of flora and fauna actually are good for the health of our communities and maybe even the sustainability of life on this planet.

So here’s a thought: If Albany’s Department of General Services can take the long Continue reading