Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2014

Green thumbs

By Xiomara Levsen | Apr 29, 2014
Pictured from left are Ainsworth Elementary School principal Jane O’ Leary, Jenna Sands, daughter of Josh and Christi Sands, and Madison Thomann, daughter of Jason Thomann and Tammy Howard. They did a small presentation about the student-led garden in Ainsworth at the Highland school board meeting Monday night.

RIVERSDE—Two fifth-grade Ainsworth Elementary students did a short presentation on the student-led garden Monday night at the Highland School Board meeting.
Jenna Sands, daughter of Josh and Christi Sands, said she was in a group of fifth-graders that measured the perimeter of the garden, figured out the area of the garden, and the area of the concrete. They also divided the garden into equal sections for planting.
“After we had that all figured out I had to go out with the fifth-graders and based off of that I had to make a map of that garden,” Sands said.
Madison Thomann was the second student to talk about the garden. She is the daughter of Jason Thomann and Tammy Howard. She said her group roped off the area for the garden and worked the soil to get it ready for planting.
Each group of fifth-graders decided what types of vegetables and fruits they would like to plant. Sands’ group decided they wanted to plant cantaloupe, radishes, carrots, and kale. Thomann’s group decided they wanted to plant chives and green bell peppers.
Next the fifth-graders decided to divide the garden into four sections, how many seeds they wanted to plant, and how many columns they wanted, Sands said. Once the plants were harvested, students were able to take them home and try them.
The girls also spoke a little bit about the future plans for the student-led garden.
This spring Ainsworth Elementary is going to purchase two to three greenhouses with money they have received from Grant Wood Area Education Association, Thomann said.  
“We are going to use them for the fall and early spring planting,” Thomann said. “We will not use them in the summer and winter.”
During the summer, students can volunteer with their principal, Jane O’ Leary, with weeding and watering the plants, Sands said.
The students have also come up with the idea of having a farmers market, Thomann said.
School Board member Tara Black asked where the farmers market would be held.
O’Leary said that hasn’t been decided yet. She also said the school was lucky to get three grants this year, but next year they may not get any, so having a farmers market was a way to make the student-led garden self-sustainable.
“What do you think students enjoyed most about the project?” Black asked.
“Probably planting the seeds,” Sands said.

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