The Little Blue Goes Greenhouse is a place where children can learn about food, health, sustainability and stewardship — all disguised as gardening.
When the greenhouse was constructed, the weather was still looking pretty white outside, but there was some green going on inside the Edith Bowen Laboratory School’s new structure.
“My main goal is to just reconnect the students with the whole process of growing food, getting their hands dirty, playing with bugs,” said Alanna Nafziger, who heads up a gardening after-school program at Edith Bowen. An Edith Bowen alumnus, Nafziger is a former student manager of the USU Organic Farm, and a passionate advocate of teaching children where food comes from and why growing it is important.
The idea began when USU student Ethan DeVilbiss, also an Edith Bowen graduate, applied for a Blue Goes Green grant to build a raised bed garden and hoop-house. He volunteered at Edith Bowen doing after-school tutoring, and he wanted to add a program on sustainability. (He is now backpacking through Europe, but plans to get involved in the after school club when he returns.)
The plans evolved to a full-blown greenhouse that would extend the growing season even more, and the walls went up.
The school’s PTA also put some funds forward to support greenhouse activities. When the 2012-13 school year started, Nafziger began teaching the after-school program. The students made seed packets, discussed vermiculture worms and the composting process, learned about topsoil and played with sprouts. Finally, they started some seeds.
Shortly after it went up and on a day in February, the greenhouse was a delightfully warm place that smelled like new lumber. Inside, young greens were getting a jump start on spring and the after school children watched their spinach grow. A logbook helps them track the indoor temperature and how the plants respond to the care they receive.
Someday soon the children will eat club-grown greens. It’s all part of their education.
For more photos from the greenhouse, check out the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Facebook photo album.
Contact: Alanna Nafziger, email@example.com
Writer: JoLynne Lyon, 435-797-1463