Posted onJune 18, 2022|Comments Off on Hands-on learning for 1,100 students in school year
Creating hands-on learning opportunities is at the core of everything the Vegetable Project does. And we picked up the pace in the school year that is winding down. So much so that we thought our friends might be interested to know that we built real hands-on experiences with nearly 1,100 Albany schools students since September.
We build teaching and learning around doing and touching and tasting and experiencing because it works. It engages students who do not buy into what school is offering because it is inherently meaningful. And it makes a deeper impression than learning that builds on repetition and memorization.
Gardening – and we do lots of gardening – is simply a great vehicle for all of that!
So what have we done with more than 1,000 Albany students? We took classes out to our gardens for touch-and-taste walkarounds. We set up worm bins in environmental science classes to support exploration of decomposition of organic material and recycling of nutrient. We planted tulip and daffodil bulbs. We grew salad greens on windowsills and made salads with the produce we grew. We led an after-school Garden Club for the 12th year. We commissioned wood shop students to build us a shed. And we shepherded 500 students through turning 500 plastic milk jugs into miniature greenhouses in March.
Of course, we have so much more to do. Execution of nearly everything we did can be improved, most of all to ensure that learning, beyond doing and touching and tasting and experiencing, really does occur. For example, although tactile experiences – with a cordless drill, dirt and tiny seeds – held student attention when we made the mini greenhouses, we could have taught about how the greenhouse structure works and we could have made use of plants that we started from seed. We could have set up the activity by explaining that a greenhouse, with clear or translucent sides, captures the sun’s warmth and holds it inside for the benefit of plants. We could have organized tastings around plants that grew in our greenhouses or moved plants into garden beds and pots, which would have made the entire project feel so much more meaningful.
So we will set our sights higher. And with continued support from our friends and the community, we will tackle these and other opportunities to broaden and deepen our reach and strengthen our offering. We think our work makes a difference, especially for kids with great needs.
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Posted onMay 8, 2022|Comments Off on Seeking help from friends with watering gardens
The Vegetable Project, as you may well know, is a volunteer group. And among the many pieces of what we do that we’re always eager for more help with is watering our gardens at Albany High School and Myers Middle School from now until the end of September, or maybe even the middle of October. Won’t you consider pitching in?
It would make a huge contribution to everything we do with and for kids.
The school district where we work, like the rest of the school world, puts a lot of time and energy into measuring performance and progress and analyzing the data that all that measurement produces.
The measurement folks probably haven’t noticed our worm composting bin initiative in the high school environmental sciences classes and might not know how to measure it. But the “thank yous” that we get from students time and again seem like Continue reading →
Posted onApril 20, 2022|Comments Off on Shed project builds meaningfulness into learning
The garden shed construction you see in the accompanying pictures is happening in Art Erbe’s construction technologies classes at Albany High School’s Abrookin Career & Technical Center and is headed for the Vegetable Project’s garden just inside Albany High grounds by North Main Avenue. And we are so pleased! Indeed, the project is so important to us that we are funding it.
The obvious reason for our pleasure is that eight feet by 12 feet of storage space right at the garden will dramatically enhance our programming capability. We’ll have the right tools and supplies at hand when we need them, making everything about growing plants in the service of building teaching and learning around doing and touching and tasting and experiencing more likely to be effective.
But we could have achieved that end by buying something at a store.
Partnering with our Abrookin friends extends our endless pursuit of opportunities for doing and touching by creating what we suspect will be an especially meaningful project for the students who are involved. Meaningfulness is a crucial ingredient in student engagement that’s too often missing. So, if we are going to harp on the need to make school learning more meaningful, and we will, we are pleased to have accumulated the resources to fund this project and hopefully more after this one is completed.
Wouldn’t it be cool if students who build this shed note their role with pride when passing by in the years ahead? And wouldn’t it be good for all of us if participating in a job for a paying customer helps students grasp the importance of an education.
Thanks, Art, for making this happen.
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Posted onApril 14, 2022|Comments Off on Tonight: May 5 is Evening in the Garden at Myers
UPDATE ON THE EVENT: The event will be tonight, Thursday, May 5, and the weather looks beautiful and the plants are happy after Wednesday’s rain. Join us at the garden at Myers Middle School. Details below!
The Vegetable Project’s fifth annual*Evening in the Garden is tonight (Thursday, May 5)Wednesday, May 4, at the garden at Myers Middle School. You won’t want to miss it. The food will be great. We’ll show you around the garden. Learn from demonstrations. Kids can pot up pansies, the perfect Mother’s Day gift.
The garden is behind the school building.
We would be pleased if you would let us know that you are coming atEventbrite or ourFacebook event.
We would be grateful if you would stand up and be counted as a friend of our all-volunteer effort to create hands-on learning opportunities for Albany kids with great needs by becoming a member of the event’s honorary committee. We will include your name in an event program when you make a $25 contribution. Again, please visitEventbrite.
Many thanks for 12 years of support. Please look for the Vegetable Project on Facebook, Instagram and Eventbrite for word of the fabulous local eateries that are contributing to this event. And please help us spread the word.
* Annual, except for a hiatus since September 2019, due, of course, to the Covid pandemic.
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Posted onMarch 29, 2022|Comments Off on Thankful for newspaper report, hands-on volunteers
A number of thanks are in order as we wrap up our milk jug greenhouse project, which without doubt was our biggest undertaking since we started digging in the dirt with Albany students in 2009.
A big one goes to Leigh Hornbeck, a Times Union writer/reporter, for capturing so well what the Vegetable Project does and what we’ve been talking about for many years. Fairly sure we have something important to offer to Albany kids, we are always eager for a wider swath of the community to know about us. Please read here from Sunday’s paper.
Then, we are indebted to the amazing team of volunteers who guided every Continue reading →
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Posted onMarch 23, 2022|Comments Off on Touching experiences central to greenhouse project
We will lead more than 500 Albany schools students through turning plastic gallon milk jugs into miniature greenhouses by the time we wrap up next week. A number of small lessons are embedded in the project – such about what a greenhouse is and how it works, the incredible diversity of nature and the needs of seeds. Maybe even more important than these, however, are the tactile experiences that we are Continue reading →
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Posted onMarch 20, 2022|Comments Off on Short ride on truck or trailer would complete project
The Vegetable Project is seeking help in moving a shed four-tenths of a mile, from Albany High School’s Abrookin Career & Technical Center to our garden at Albany High, likely in early June. The shed, to be built by high school construction program students under the direction of Art Erbe, will be 12 feet long, eight feet wide and nine feet high.
We would be appreciative beyond words for help specifically with a flatbed truck or a trailer that a member of our team can tow.
And lest there be any doubt, we are thrilled to partner on this project with Abrookin/Albany High students and Mr. Erbe. We build teaching and learning around doing and touching and tasting and experiencing, mostly in the garden. But creating similar opportunities elsewhere in support of the garden is just as appealing to us!
Please reach out at email@example.com if you might be able to lend a hand.
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Posted onMarch 8, 2022|Comments Off on Building on hands-on learning momentum
The Vegetable Project organized the kind of day at Myers Middle School yesterday that we bet educators, kids and parents alike would like to see more of – quite full of doing and touching and preparing for tasting and experiencing. And we have so many more days like this on the drawing board.
Won’t you please help make them a reality?
We led 125 eighth graders on Monday in turning plastic milk jugs into miniature Continue reading →
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Posted onFebruary 19, 2022|Comments Off on Thanks for more plastic jugs than imaginable
Thanks to many, many, many friends who answered our call for empty plastic gallon jugs. We’re at about 500 now, slightly overshooting our goal of 300. A really big thanks goes to the good folks at the Starbucks on Western Avenue near the Albany/Guilderland line, who collected 10 to 20 jugs a day for the past two weeks.
Next up is putting these to use. The plan is to guide every kid in as many Albany schools classes as we can get to in making his or her own miniature greenhouse, for the hands-on experience with tools and project work that is nearly guaranteed to engage, for the exposure to some science and the for opportunity to make a connection between the field where food is produced and the table where it is served.
We still could use a ton of help. The more pairs of volunteer hands we have on the team the better. Won’t you please consider pitching in for maybe an hour or two or three? Please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make arrangements to talk and spend time together making one or two mini greenhouses for practice.
The Vegetable Project is a volunteer-driven tax-exempt nonprofit corporation. In addition to hands-on participation in our programming, we are grateful for financial support that we promise to use for the benefit of Albany kids with the greatest needs. You can make a contribution right here.
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