I was in the lucky position to go and visit Nightingale Middle School this afternoon and meet with a group from the school’s D3 Lab to discuss the school’s future garden. The group of students, called the ‘Superheroes,’ and their lab supervisor Danny, have been discussing their vision for the garden with Tomas and they were excited to finally see the plans.
- The Nightingale initiative. This is a partnership on site between common studio, the Pearson foundation’s New Learning Institute and the administration of the school. We worked with Daniel Phillips, Kim Karlsrud and Nancy Chau. Wonderful people and super smart.
Before we started talking build plans they wanted to show me how the first smaller garden we built a couple Saturdays ago was coming along. I was excited to see it as it was the first build I participated in. The progress made blew me away! The tomato plants were looking lush, the artichoke growing strong, and large bok choy leaves and chard were ready to be picked. They are planning a harvest day for the school real soon! They also built a bench and used old car tires to make planters in the space called the ‘Nest’. We spent a few minutes walking around talking about the plants and the drip irrigation system.
Next they informed me of what they’ve been up to in preparing for a garden. They’ve been working on some prototypes to see what the reaction to having more plants around the school would be. Several planters with tomato and other plants have been placed around the school to see if students would take care of them or harm them. So far so good, the plants are looking healthy and getting water.
We walked over to the bare spot at the end of the PE grounds where the garden is going to be. I handed out the plans (see it over here!) to the students and we all tried to envision what the garden would like. A beautiful combined outdoor kitchen and arbor as entrance. Several raised garden beds with trellises for creeping beans and tomatoes. Benches between the beds. Picnic tables in the garden and native flower beds.
Needless to say, it was kind of hard imaging what it would look like, even with all the great visuals. A discussion followed on how to best communicate this vision to the rest of the school. Build a model was Danny’s suggestion and the students were positive about this idea! I’m looking forward to seeing this model, I bet it is going to be beautiful and make a great impression on everybody at the school.
Unfortunately, three of the Superheroes would already have graduated from middle school by the time the garden is completed, but I reminded them that they can always take pride in the fact that they were part of a driving force at their school in creating a beautiful edible green space for future generations of students.