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

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 [email protected] 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.

–Bill Stoneman

Offering garden bed sponsorship opportunities

The Vegetable Project, which digs in the dirt with Albany High School and Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School students and which is proud to partner with the Friendship Garden of the Delaware Community, would be pleased to showcase the names of friends who help make its research-based work with Albany students possible. We will mount a Continue reading

Seeking volunteers to scale up hands-on learning

We would like, no, make that we are preparing – to build teaching and learning around doing and touching and tasting and experiencing on a scale that we have never done before. But we sure could use help!

We would like to give about 300 Albany schools students the opportunity next month get a jump on spring by making their own miniature greenhouse out of a plastic gallon jug. We envision doing this during the school day in classrooms. We are reaching out to teachers right now to invite participation. The actual steps are rather simple for adults with a modicum of experience handling tools. But we really need to provide kids with something close to one-to-one guidance through the 10- or 15-minute-long process. So, 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 Continue reading

Gardening friendship blossoms into partnership

The Vegetable Project has been digging in the dirt with Albany kids since September 2009, though we did not adopt the name until a bit later. We formalized things some in the fall of 2015, creating a nonprofit corporation under provisions of New York state law and then seeking and receiving determination by the Internal Revenue Service that we are eligible for tax-exempt status. The hope was that these steps Continue reading

Dirty hands signal a measure of trusting relationship

It would be hard to overstate the pleasure we take in seeing kids get their hands dirty, which is not remotely to say that we make a big deal about anyone’s reluctance to dig in. So, a big thanks to Michele Patka, visual arts teacher at Stephen and Harriett Myers Middle School, for capturing dirty hands in all their glory at our Garden Club on Tuesday. We started seeds indoors for plants that will eventually move outside. The growing season in Albany just isn’t long enough for many things we grow without an indoor head start. Activity on Tuesday focused on Continue reading

Buy seeds to support the Vegetable Project

Start your own garden this year, maybe fill a couple of planters on the front porch, or perhaps add a few square feet to that special space – for the beauty you’ll create, for the hope you’ll inspire and for the stewardship of our environment you’ll provide. And please support the Vegetable Project when you Continue reading

Exposure to nature for sake of mental health

The U.S. surgeon general issued a stark warning this month that the nation’s youth are facing huge mental health issues and that although the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, it had been growing well before we first heard the word coronavirus. Other important voices, including the U.S. secretary of education and national organizations representing pediatricians, children’s hospitals and adolescent psychiatrists, have sounded similar alarms in recent weeks. And front-line educators who we talk with have their share of supporting anecdotes, and then some.

High on the list of important steps to take, these officials and well-placed Continue reading

Hands-on learning for hundreds of Albany students

It’s hard to top the reaction we see and hear when kids who have spent little time in the company of earthworms encounter them in our gardens. Shrieks and squeals – some with delight and some with dismay – fill the air, leaving little doubt that we got kids’ attention. So, we are bringing worms inside school buildings now also.

More specifically, we set up worm composting bins in six environmental science Continue reading

Opportunity to learn from a meaningful life

We lost a friend recently who we were just getting to know. Darby Penney, who lived a stone’s throw from our garden at Albany High School, passed away on Oct. 11. She learned of the Vegetable Project through Facebook, made a couple of financial contributions, bought seeds in one of our fundraisers and wrote some copy about particular vegetables Continue reading