Sprouting Community in West Fairlee – (UVFTS Mini-Grant Showcase Project)

The Westshire Elementary School students were eagerly awaiting spring planting time. Last year’s gardens were just a big beautiful memory when we gathered together this spring. In June we built our raised beds and proved we could grow vegetables in them. This year we wanted to learn about starting and transplanting seeds so we decided to enlist a local farmer, Janet Taylor, from Crossroad Farm. Many of our students’ families buy produce and flowers there so the students already had a connection to Janet and what she does at the farm. With the help from our farm-to-school mini-grant, Janet came to a special assembly one afternoon in early April. She talked to us about what seeds need to grow and how to plant them. The kids loved looking at the seed samples she passed around. Some seeds were huge and some could barely be seen as they were so tiny. She showed us examples of plants that were just peeking up out of the trays and larger plants that she had planted several weeks before. She also demonstrated how to transplant seedlings into larger pots. Janet left us a whole tray of marigold seedlings which we transplanted into bigger pots and gave to our mothers for Mother’s Day and to the Kindergarten families who will be joining us next year. After we listened and asked great gardening questions, we all went to our classroom stations and planted trays of seeds in potting soil donated by Vermont Compost. We planted sunflowers, broccoli, cucumbers, oregano, parsley, and all types of yummy veggies. We look forward to our fall harvest thanks to support from our community, Crossroad Farm, and Vital Communities. We learn more from each other every year and this information helps to empower our students to be connected to their school and community! – Jen Shatney, Volunteer, Westshire Elementary School, West Fairlee, VT