When our community rallies for a cause, great things can happen. That’s exactly what we saw this past weekend at Elbridge Gale Elementary School, when the community came together to build a beautiful garden that will benefit the school and its students for many years to come.
It is these types of public-private partnership projects we hope can be a model for future programs in our communities. By banding together, public and private entities made what was once a dream for Principal Gail Pasterczyk a reality for students of today and tomorrow.
On Sept. 28, parents, students, teachers and community leaders got down in the dirt to revitalize the elementary school’s dilapidated courtyard garden. Together, they planted more than 150 seedlings in new garden beds, hydroponic planters and an aquaponic system. The project was made possible thanks to a donation by the Wellington Preservation Coalition and a partnership with the Village of Wellington and Palm Beach County.
The new garden will provide valuable teaching tools for students to learn about plants, life cycles and healthy eating. Students will even get lessons in harvesting their own vegetables, cooking them, eating them and even selling them.
We all know that students learn best when they are given the opportunity to learn hands on. That is exactly what this garden will provide. They will be able to touch, smell, taste, see and record how their garden changes over the weeks, months and years they attend Elbridge Gale.
In a time where being so removed from our food has caused an epidemic of poor eating habits, these lessons are vital for raising health-conscious, green-minded young people who will pass on their lessons and values to the next generation.
We are thrilled to see these kinds of green practices being encouraged in our schools — practices students can then bring home with them. This is giving our children the foundation to be future gardeners, even if it’s just a small pot of herbs by their kitchen window.
By being excited about growing their own food, students may make healthier choices when they sit down for dinner, and learn a love for foods they might otherwise not have tried.
This is truly a win-win project for our community. We hope other schools will look to Elbridge Gale as a model for great green projects they could replicate in their own schools. And when that time comes, we know our community will be there to support them.