By Katie Decker, Principal
Several years ago we began our journey into a school garden program in Las Vegas. It all started with a first grade and kindergarten raised bed garden program.
After having a little success we decided to build a much larger garden and fruit tree area replacing hundreds of square feet of grass. When we started out a garden committee tried to get everyone involved and we had minimal success with our planting schedules. Things were done randomly.
Then we partnered with Green Our Planet and Garden Farms of Nevada. That was when everything changed.
This garden has brought our school together as a community and has taught so many important life skills for our students.
We now have a raised bed garden for every classroom in the school, including Pre-K! Each teacher works with our farmer at least once a month on their garden bed. We have composters and worm composters that the third grade manages.
The students are learning all about planting, maintaining, and harvesting their garden. That’s not all that they are learning. Now we are hosting several different Farmer’s Markets to sustain our garden. We have the students harvest, organize, market, and even provide nutrition labels for the vegetables and fruit that we produce. We now have partnerships with Whole Foods, Honey Salt Restaurant, Wild Restaurant, the Cannery, and a new store downtown called The Market. Our students are learning how to run their very own business.
They are also learning how to eat what they grow with several partnerships with local chefs and Create a Change Now. We also have a Nutritionist from UNLV that is an intern at Bracken each semester to provide support with recipes and parent education for our Pre-K and Kindergarten families.
Best of all they are learning to give back to the community as food that is not sold or prepared is donated to the local Salvation Army food pantry.
This garden has brought our school together as a community and has taught so many important life skills for our students. We are very proud to be providing our community with this valuable resource while enhancing the education for our students!