Stratford Landing Elementary School revives garden program
The school garden is thriving again at Stratford Landing Elementary School, thanks to a new garden coordinator, Get2Green lead, parent volunteers and students.
About five years ago, the school had a robust garden program led by outdoor learning teacher Mary Charlton, but after her departure in 2021, the garden fell into disuse. Last year, a fifth-grade gifted education teacher named Thao Nguyen noticed that the garden needed tending and started combining math and science lessons for her students with garden activities and cleanup. Among other activities, the students grew and harvested potatoes while studying vascular and non-vascular plants.
According to Nguyen, who since has become Stratford Landing’s Get2Green lead, the students decided their class should adopt the garden, grow edible vegetables and bring them to the cafeteria as a “quality food choice with equitable access for all.” The students began actively holding meetings, distributing flyers and creating a website to recruit more help with the garden. Several parent volunteers stepped up to help supervise efforts. Now, once a week, four fifth-grade classes tend the garden with the guidance of a garden coordinator.
This fall, Stratford Landing students had their first harvest from the reinvigorated garden, including pumpkins, sunflower seeds, lettuce, figs and peaches. With that success, the school has officially rejoined the list of many active school gardens along the Richmond Highway Corridor.