Big and exciting changes are ahead for the Cooperative Permaculture Garden at Nottingham High School, the 2013 DISHES winner. Unfortunately the current garden space has had limited access this summer due to maintenance needs and will eventually need to be moved due to school expansion plans. But the move is leading to bigger and better things for the Garden.
A new space at the school has been confirmed, and a landscape architect (and student’s parent!) has started drawing some sketches for projects to undergo with the groundskeepers. They are working on also creating a space to use as a grow-room for winter sprouting and hoops for raised beds for early transfers. And they are hoping to roll out composting procedures and education during school lunches starting this fall. The biggest bit of news is that a career and technical education certificate curriculum has been approved for Nottingham for Natural Sciences, with a focus on urban agriculture and environmental sciences. The garden will provide the perfect space for hands on experience for students in this program! Parents of soon-to-be high schoolers can call the school at 435-4380 and contact Vice Principal Ms. De Tore for more information.
Reina Apraez has been working as a volunteer consultant with Vice Principal Lynanne De Tore, the leader on the project. This summer will also see the creation of an advisory board made up of representatives of local businesses and non-profits who can give in-school demonstrations and take on students as interns and volunteers for credit. Some of the businesses and organizations who have signed on to help so far include Main Street Farms in Homer, NY; Syracuse Real Food Coop; and Alchemical Nursery. Other businesses interested in participating can contact Ms. De Tore at 435-4380 or email Reina for more information.
While the project has changed over time, it is unfolding into a longer, larger, more sustainable project that has the potential to have a great impact on many young lives. Reina is grateful for the momentum from DISHES and the engagement of the students and community who have acted as the catalyst for a stronger school culture at Nottingham that is focused on ecological concerns. As Reina recently said about DISHES, “That one dinner planted the seed!”