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Mount Greylock High Garden Offers Harvest of Learning

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The student-run garden at Mount Greylock Regional High School is providing produce for the cafeteria and Berkshire Food Project and as a source for academic projects.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — In addition to engaging in academics, sports, clubs, and other commitments, a number of Mount Greylock Regional High School students are also busy harvesting kale, tomatoes, squash, and pumpkins from the school garden this fall.

First planted in spring 2010, and maintained since then by a student-run Garden Club, the Youth Environmental Squad, and interns from Williams College, the Mount Greylock garden continues to grow and is serving a vital role on the campus and in the broader community. Seasonal produce from the garden is used by cafeteria staff in school lunches during the school year and is donated in the summer to the Berkshire Food Project through the Williams College WRAPS program.

Rebecca Green, biology and environmental science teacher, is the faculty adviser to the school Garden Club. 

"Having a garden at the school allows students to experience the joy of gardening and of eating food they have grown or their peers have grown," Green said recently. "It also supports the local food movement and educates individuals on the importance of supporting local food producers."

Garden Club co-President Evelyn Mahon, a junior, agrees. 

"I find that working in a community garden makes you feel a respect for food, and that you can't take the food you eat for granted," Mahon said. "You realize how much work it takes, and how difficult yet extremely rewarding it is to be supporting an organic garden. Now, when I eat anything, I can't help but thinking, 'Do I know the person who grew this lettuce or raised this chicken?' I usually do, and I find that to be a real comfort."

Additionally, teachers are using the garden as a resource for academic and enrichment projects.  Studies have included lessons in sustainable farming techniques, symbiosis, and ecosystems.

"Instead of having to drive to Hopkins Forest, biology classes and environmental science classes have the ability to walk out their back door and into another classroom," Mahon said.

Mount Greylock's garden is a place on campus where students, teachers, and community members may gather. A recent donation from the Finnegan Family of a large shed is a welcome addition to gardeners this year, and plans to expand the garden's presence in the life of the school continue to evolve.

Kaatje White is the coordinator for the Williams Center at Mount Greylock and has been an active supporter of the garden since its inception. 

"Hopefully, next year the garden will become even more a part of the school with classes and other groups finding ways to connect to this resource," White said. "Down the road it would be wonderful to see a horticulture class, a cooking club, healthy recipes with ideas from the garden posted on the website, and perhaps a dedicated Master Gardener to help guide these efforts."

To celebrate their fall harvest, the Garden Club and Greylock Cooks! are hosting a Harvest Party on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 5:30 p.m. at Mount Greylock. Community members are welcome to attend. There is no cost for the potluck dinner, although guests should bring a dish to share and are encouraged to use local ingredients in their recipes.

Tags: agriculture,   locavore,   MGRHS,   school garden,   

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