MILTON (CBS) — Growing season is over around New England, but for a group of Milton High School students, it’s only just beginning.
Special education students are getting the chance to grow their own garden right in the classroom. It’s a program started by Milton school’s Food Services Director Jackie Morgan.
She saw the EvanLee Organics grow racks at a conference and knew they would be a perfect learning tool for the children.
“We live here in New England, so it’s hard to do gardens for school because we are so locked in by the weather,” Morgan said. “And we have our summers off.”
However, by using 6-foot grow racks, it can be summer all year long. A grow light mimics the sun for 15 hours a day and it comes with its own irrigation system.
Morgan said it brings great joy to the students, “They run in in the morning to see their crops. And to see how fast it’s growing. And they’re watering it every day.”
The children also get a chance to harvest what they’ve planted. They use scissors to chop greens they’ve grown like kale, lemon basil and deer tongue lettuce. One student described it as giving the plant a haircut. And the best part, they get to share what they have grown with the high school’s cafeteria providing lunch for classmates and a sense of accomplishment for themselves.
“It gives them a vocation,” Morgan described. “We’re teaching them all about ownership and responsibility and pride and you saw today how proud they are.”
Morgan also believes this puts the students on a path to a healthier diet, “I think when students and children grow food, they actually have a better chance of eating that food. So that’s a really exciting part of this.”