Charter students build garden, donate produce
DENVER – Sid Garman’s goal was pretty simple.
Create something sustainable.
Something that would teach students a valuable lesson.
Garman, a rising junior at Lincoln Charter School, did just that when he built a garden at the Denver-based school with four or five other classmates.
“We wanted others to have an understanding of how to grow their own food,” Garman, 16, said. “We wanted to see how much work it took to do that.”
Garman and his classmates went to Jonathan Bryant in mid-March with the idea for the garden, which is about 60 feet long and sits directly behind the high school wing of the school.
Bryant, the assistant chief administrator school’s, agreed to the idea and helped pool supplies needed to construct it.
Garman’s father donated wood for the base and sides. Another student’s father supplied the plants and the school paid for the dirt.
“Within two or three weeks, the plants just exploded up,” Bryant said. “The kids were really prepared, really knew what they were doing.”
Building and maintaining the garden wasn’t for a grade, Garman said. All the time they spent working on it was outside of regular class periods.
“They were out there in the blazing hot sun,” Bryant said. “They were out there working hard. This was their own time, and it’s one of the best gardens I’ve seen this year.”
The students planted tomatoes, zucchini, wildflowers, they planted strawberries and dill.
And when their fruits and vegetables were done growing, they gave them away.
They took the produce to the Hickory Soup Kitchen and Hope Community Church of Metrolina.
“It’s pretty tremendous,” Austin Pearce, executive director of the soup kitchen, said. “People come up with the coolest stuff, and it’s always somebody you’d least expect. You think about kids in the summer time, and you think movies, vacation or something else. Not these guys.”
Pearce said the kitchen serves about 250 people per day, all between 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
“It does highlight some of the kids that are interested in putting what they learn into practice,” Bryant said. “I think it showcases some of our students who have initiative and perseverance.”
Rising junior Dan Cary was one of those students.
“We thought it would be cool to serve others,” Cary, 16, said. “We wanted to show that you can grow your own food and sustain it yourself.”
One of Garman’s most important goals was pulling the small team together to make the project happen in such a short time.
“We were able to produce a lot of food with the amount of people we had,” Garman said. “I wanted to make sure there was a strong team element so we could overcome any obstacles that might come against us.”
He and Cary learned plenty of things through the process. Teamwork. Gardening. Engineering.
But they got the most out of something else.
“We thought, ‘The soup kitchen obviously needs food and we can afford to buy it, so we’ll donate it to those who need it,’” Cary said. “It’s pretty cool helping out other people.”