FEAST in the Garden
The Vance Peace Garden is an outdoor learning laboratory designed to educate the whole child and community through hands-on learning that promotes environmental stewardship, character development and healthy lifestyles. Every grade level participates in gardening and cooking classes on a regular basis, each with their own plot in the garden to tend to and harvest both learning and food from. – Jordan Diamond, FEAST Educator at Vance Elementary school
We grow a variety of perennial herbs and fruits including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, apples, cherries and elderberries as well as seasonal vegetables. Garden classes include after school enrichment classes, summer camp, community workdays, potlucks, workshops and of course our classroom lessons.
We teach sustainable practices From its inception, those planning and working in the garden have used sustainable gardening and organic, pesticide-free gardening practices. Our garden projects include building an earthen cob-style shed with a rainwater catchment system, construction a high tunnel greenhouse and composting. The garden operates in alignment with seasonal rhythms, the children learn about cycles, rhythms and interconnections in a very hands-on way. They connect their classroom learning about the four seasons to the growing seasons of different fruits and vegetables. We integrate science by researching and planting cover crops which benefit the soil, rotating crops to maintain healthy soil and nutrient balance, research and plant companion plants and finding the benefits of bees and insects in the garden. The design of the garden models many different methods from raised beds to rows, the intentional use of perennial trees, shrubs and herbs and companion planting in our permaculture area. Integrated into the curriculum are different gardening methods and skills so that all students in the school will leave with the valuable knowledge and practices of gardening.