GCAA’s SUN Garden is awarded a 2012 “Kids Garden Fresh” Youth Garden GrantOn July 26th, Grand Center Arts Academy’s SUN Garden was awarded a Kids Garden Fresh Grant from our neighbors at Gateway Greening. The Kids Garden Fresh Program promotes hands-on youth gardening by providing schools with garden tools, plants, soil, compost bins, sample curriculum and support. We are especially excited that GCAA will also be receiving four indoor Grow Labs. These Grow Labs will extend the growing season and provide students with hands-on opportunities to learn about and grow plants throughout the colder winter months. The SUN garden is located in back of the former EarthWays Center adjacent to the school. The garden, created in May by Fred Warren’s 8th grade science students, evolved in response to watching Food, Inc, a documentary about the health and environmental cost of industrialized food production. In one week’s time, 110 empowered students transformed an overgrown weed patch at EarthWays into six productive organic vegetable plots. Thanks to their hard work and motivation, the SUN Garden is providing outdoor educational opportunities for GCAA teachers and students as we head into a new school year. Carol York adds: "Several of my classes have already begun work on the garden. They’ve been weeding the garden stones as well as coming up with great suggestions of their own for utilizing the garden. In my enrichment class, a student brought in delicious jams produced from tomatoes and peppers grown in their own garden. A few parents are scheduled to speak to us about gardening and canning, and a representative from Gateway Greening is planning to come speak with us as well. This week we will plant seeds and seedlings for a fall harvest. These same plants will be used to teach photosynthesis, the water cycle and about ecosystems. We’ll be taking soil samples and learning about microorganism that live in the soil. In addition, we will use the garden to discuss health and wellness as well as sustainability and proper stewardship of our land." Many thanks to our new ninth-graders for getting the ball rolling and to Damen Martin and parent organizer, Katie Belisle-Iffrig (mother of Emma, 9th grade, and Sophie, 7th grade) for babysitting the fruits of their labor over the hot summer months.