Parkway Middle School in Lauderhill was one of the Florida Farm to School’s Golden Shovel Award Winners in the Best Revitalized Garden category. Since the schools beginning four years ago, with a focus geared towards robotics and aerospace programs, gardening was only just a fun addition. In 2013, STEM teacher for horticultural sciences, Scott Savage, began to shift the focus towards science and look at hydroponic gardening.
“This year, we have fully implemented the new Horticultural Science aspect to the STEM program. We expose students to the agricultural and nutritional aspects of gardening and eating healthier through curriculum such as Gardening for Grades,” explained Savett. Today they have an edible garden with garden beds, garden towers, a drip hydroponic system, a deep-water culture hydroponic system and a wicking hydroponic system.
Savett encourages all teachers to look for grants and not to give up if they do not receive one. He suggests going to a local Home Depot or Lowes for garden materials such as soil. These stores are often eager to help a school implement or expand their garden. “Next year, we plan on taking the Horticultural Science program to another level where we will grow more food and have after-school seedling distribution to students, staff and parents. We will also look to develop a partnership with local restaurants and learn how to make our crops marketable, further educating my students in entrepreneurship and making our school gardens financially sustainable,” said Savett. Check out their blog here to track the students' progress and watch the garden expand.
Do you have an old garden that needs an overhaul? Please contact Kristi Hatakka, Farm to School Garden Specialist, at Kristi.Hatakka@FreshFromFlorida.com for more information on revitalizing your existing garden.