GrowNYC recently lent a green thumb to Wagner Middle School on the Upper East Side. The non-profit banded together with Wagner students, teachers, parents and local volunteers to roll up their sleeves and build an on-site urban farm and garden that will serve as an educational tool as well as a place to harvest fresh produce. Students spent the day gardening, playing recycling games, eating and learning about healthy snacks, and welcoming urban gardening into their curriculum.
The new school garden was built as part of GrowNYC’s year-long partnership with the Wagner School, which is located on East 76th Street. With the nonprofit’s help, Wagner will help to instill the importance of food raising and healthy living into their regular lesson plan. By giving city kids a chance to immerse themselves in gardening, the urban farm will expand the students’ perspectives on nature, global farming and the value of eating fresh foods.
The garden includes four high-build raised gardening beds planted with lettuce, kale, native plants and other edibles. Students spent the day building the garden beds- from filling them with soil, to planting seedlings. They also got a lesson in healthy eating and cooking, in preparation for the fresh veggies they’ll be growing each year.
The urban garden is a new welcoming area for students and staff alike, adorned with student-painted signs, and benches donated by the PTA provide seating for relaxation and contemplation.