We have been running the North Fork School Garden since 1999. Back then it was just a few raised beds, some herbs and three fruit trees. Now the garden is a little over an acre with several raised beds, three fields for row crops, a greenhouse, berry trellises, a grape arbor, and an orchard with over twenty five trees. Our little garden has grown into a farm.
The North Fork Elementary cafeteria has started to use the produce grown in the garden for school lunches. Teachers tell us the students are much more willing to eat from the salad bar since they grow it themselves. In addition to salad greens, the garden produces kale, chard, onions, carrots, radishes, squash, pumpkins, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil, grapes, strawberries, blackberries and more (we want to keep experimenting with new crops.) Also in the years to come we will be producing a hefty amount of apples from the new trees we put in last year.
In addition to growing food, the students also learn what it takes to build a farm. They are included in every process including building terraces, constructing green house beds out of wood or concrete, erecting grape arbors and building stone benches.
We work with kindergarden through eighth grade every Friday. At the end of every class, we hand out healthy snacks to encourage kids to maintain a healthy diet and appreciate cleanly grown food.
We believe every school should have a garden program, as food, health, and just getting outside to play in the dirt is an essential part of life. If you have any questions about our garden, or want to start you own and need some tips, contact us at Kernfamilyfarm@netptc.net