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Good Thymes in the Garden

Jr. Master Gardener

It may not take an entire village to raise a garden, but it is a community effort!

This past school year, Normandale Elementary families, teachers, Wellness Committee and volunteers worked together to launch their garden, Le Jardin Arc-en-ciel (“The Rainbow Garden”). Materials were purchased through fundraising, PTO funds, and a Whole Foods grant, and the gardens were built with the help of our woodshop and high school STEM program, Project Lead the Way. Participants from our woodshop built the garden’s archway and sign, and students and staff from Project Lead the Way did the engraving. Thanks to all these dedicated community members, students have been able to utilize the gardens since the spring to grow both their vegetables and their learning!

Throughout this summer, six kids in grades 3–5 participated in the Jr. Master Gardener Program, a summer camp offered through our Youth Enrichment Program in partnership with Hennepin County Master Gardeners. The students committed to coming to Normandale once a week to learn about various topics, such as planning their own garden, bees, bugs and butterflies, water conservation, etc. After their lesson, students headed out to the gardens to see the growth and color changes of their plants, pick a variety vegetables (tomatoes, radishes, kale, herbs, pumpkins, etc.), and then, of course, go back inside and prep their healthy homegrown snacks to eat!

“There are so many components incorporated into this class, and having a garden has made such a big impact on the kids,” said Kay Zuccaro, one of the camp instructors. “The students are so excited to come back each week to learn all about gardening and see how their food has grown and changed from week to week.”