Decatur High school senior, Anna Rose Gable, shares five tips that can help any student get their dream garden off the ground.
- Educate yourself - Become acquainted with gardens and resources in your community, and get involved so you know what you're getting yourself into. I was lucky to have Oakhurst and Gaia right down the street.
- Show you are serious - I converted a weedy school flower bed into a vegetable garden and maintained it for two years whilst writing bylaws, an annotated bibliography of garden-building resources, a preliminary garden layout, and a research paper about sustainable agriculture education. Talking to a lot of people will help you develop the plan, and they will become useful allies later on!
- Make your voice heard - In order to gain recognition and permission for the project, I had to visit the principal's office on a daily basis. Teaming up with a parent (the PTSA Building and Grounds Committee chair) got things moving much faster.
- Get people involved - Parents, teachers, staff, community members, and, most importantly, students. You will need everyone's support. In Decatur, Google Groups has been very effective at getting adults in on the act, while Facebook has helped a lot on the student front.
- Speak up! Finally, you'll need people to find funding, communicate with the school and community, contribute physical labor and donate supplies. They are out there - all you have to do is ask.
Good luck. I'll be over here in Decatur doing the same!
Anna Rose is a senior at Decatur High School. After interning at the Oakhurst Community Garden, she undertook an independent study in organic farming, and established a small garden on the school campus. This year, many hours of dreaming and planning are coming to fruition with the creation of the DHS Community Garden.