Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bringing the farm to school

Yesterday the other interns and I went to the Agrarian Adventure, which is a program based at Tappan Middle School. They have a really cool operation that tries to integrate the garden into almost every academic subject for the students. The math classes measure out the garden beds, and make sure they are parallel to each other. History classes take food from the three sisters’ garden to make a colonial American meal. Science teachers instruct students on the greenhouse effect, and basic botany. These are a few examples of how the garden is part of school life. They have a large strawberry patch, several garden beds, and a huge green house. Tappan students constructed the green house with help from the MSU student organic farm, which leads the state in investigating season extension possibilities.

Link to MSU student organic farm:

Beds in the green house are filled with healthy kale, chard, sunflowers, tomatoes, and lettuce greens that were started at the beginning of January! The program is expanding with discussion of starting an orchard nearby the garden. Those interested in getting their hands dirty more than two days a week with us can help out at the Adventure Tuesday evenings from 5 to 7 pm at Tappan Middle School. Elissa (email:, the program director, told me that they will be doing Tuesday evening work from now until October! Google map (or Mapquest, etc) this address to find the sweetest route that works for you to get gardening!
Tappan Middle School
2251 E Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(The garden is behind the school on the soccer field.)

Note: AA has an ongoing fundraiser, where they are selling tickets for a garden tour that happens on June 13. More details can be found here:

Jeremy, one of the managers of the MSU student organic farm, was at the workday yesterday and he mentioned that the Sustainable Agriculture and Education Association ( is having a national conference July 15-17 in Ames, Iowa. Student farms as well as other groups/farms around the country that promote sustainable agriculture will come together to discuss their successes, failures, and how best to move forward collectively. Deadline for early registration is July 1 so if interested look into it now!

I went by Ginsberg yesterday and the potatoes, spinach and radishes are doing really well. The warm weather vegetables seem like they are still recovering from their transplanting, but these recent rains are a definite help.

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