Fifteen years ago the idea of a learning garden planted itself in the heads of Caze Elementary School faculty and Southwestern Indiana Master Gardeners Association members. Recently, the school set this plan into motion.
“These kids need to know the community cares about them,” says Samantha Potts, social worker at Caze Elementary School, located at South Green River Road and Pollack Avenue.
From hauling bricks and planting various vegetables to raising caterpillars and releasing them as butterflies, students harvest more than produce.
“The gardens help them become more self-sustaining and teach them about nutrition and their position in the ecosystem,” says Cindy Farmer, chair of the Junior Master Gardener Program.
Master Gardeners work with the students to grow tomatoes, freeze them, and make vegetable soup to bring home to their families for Thanksgiving.
The kids also bring plants home to raise with their families. And while the fruits, vegetables, and perennials may perish, learning and volunteering are both evergreen for the students of Caze Elementary School.
“You leave here feeling so good,” says SWIMGA coordinator Amy Kehler. “It’s a great way to spend your time.”