Central Junior High School gearing up for larger garden project, needs volunteers for work days


Central Junior High School’s garden will more than double in size this spring thanks to a $6,000 LiveWell Lawrence grant and donations from local farmers and businesses.

The garden got its roots about four years ago as an after-school project.

“It started by tilling up some dirt and putting some plants in because one of the teachers was really into gardening and she got some kids excited about it,” said Laura Leonard, after-school program manager.

Then, the school received a grant from the Lawrence Arts Commisson to do an art garden. The students used what they planted to create natural dyes, flower arrangements and culinary treats. They also took photos of their work.

“Then, it grew from there,” Leonard said.

About 20 students have volunteered to take care of the garden each spring and fall, and they’ve planted a variety of items: tomatoes, carrots, lettuce and okra — to name a few.

In the summer, it was mostly maintained by teachers; occasionally, a few students would help out.

Not anymore.

Students will take over garden responsibilities throughout the growing season and will sell produce at the Thursday markets in the parking lot of Cottin’s Hardware store. The students also will have a say in what gets planted in the 20 different beds.

“The students will be doing a majority of the work. We are trying to make sure that control of the garden is staying in the hands of the students,” Leonard said.

First, they need help getting the garden ready for tilling during spring break and then creating the beds. They are seeking volunteers for two work days, which both begin at 10 a.m. They are Saturdays March 12 and April 2.

If you would like to help, contact Leonard at lleonard@usd497.org, or call her at 330-4817.

Tagged: local food, Central Junior High School, school garden


Marilyn Hull 7 years, 7 months ago

We hope community volunteers will get behind this effort. So many positive things come from school gardens--fresh, local food in the cafeteria, work experience for the student gardeners, community building....

If you like gardening and want to make a difference in kids' lives, this is a great way to do it.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.