This spring, Dartmouth students involved in the Growing Change Project were eager to plant our garden at Dothan Brook School in Hartford, Vermont. Throughout the year, we teach weekly lessons to fourth grade students at the school about food systems and healthy living, and during the spring they help us cultivate the garden!

This year, we created a garden plan in March and ultimately chose carrots, kale, lettuce, and green beans as the vegetables we wanted to plant. We thought the students would be familiar with these vegetables and could interact with them more effectively.

A week later, the fourth graders planted the seeds during our lesson. In the classroom beforehand we discussed the characteristics of the four vegetables and the nutritional benefits they offer. We had the students make a list of rules for the garden and stressed the importance of responsibility and good behavior in creating a productive garden and teamwork in executing it.

Overall, the students had a wonderful time working in the garden and being personally involved in this process. We were thrilled to see how engaged they were with the lesson and the crops and inquisitive about the timeline in which they would grow. – Maddie Koehler, Growing Change Instructor, Dothan Brook School, Hartford, VT