An organic vegetable garden is not the typical campus landscaping of choice.
But that is exactly what was growing in one of the many green spaces on campus this fall.
TBC enjoys a strong connection to Trinity Christian Academy which shares our 42-acre campus and employs over a dozen TBC graduates as educators, administrators, and staff. So, while this project is only indirectly related to TBC, we are excited to witness the positive results and think you would love to hear about it too! Plus, we love to share the positive work being done in our city through small local businesses.
A campus STEM project was begun several months ago at Trinity Christian Academy which has resulted in fun memories, hands-on learning, and lush organic produce!
This past fall, students in TCA’s science and Family, Home and Consumer Technology classes TCA helped plan and tend a small organic herb and vegetable garden. The academy hired a professional gardening team from “Man in Overalls” to visit the high school campus and identify a good location for a garden. Then, high school students were given the opportunity to help install raised garden beds and a watering system and assist with planting. The Overalls team provided ongoing support to keep the organic garden thriving through the hot months and into our recent cooler weather.
Nathan Ballentine, owner of Overalls, is passionate about educating and providing resources to individuals and groups who wish to grow their own organic gardens.
Overalls offers a variety of packages that provide as much or as little support as needed. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, Overalls has piloted a community garden in the Springfield area of our city. And now, of course, they have done the same on our campus! You can learn more about them on their website https://overalls.life/.
Students in TCA’s Biology and Family, Home and Consumer Technology classes have benefitted from learning both the art and science of gardening:
how to create and sustain the right environment for healthy growth, and at the end of the cycle, harvesting and sampling the produce!
TCA’s organic garden produced lots of leafy greens (collard, cabbage, kale, chard, turnip), herbs (rosemary, oregano, dill, parsley) and root vegetables (radish, carrot, rutabaga, turnip).
The high school Family, Home and Consumer Technology teacher, Alaina Ivey, says they didn’t cook with the produce this year,
“…but we did sample some of the fresh vegetables. The students loved the smell of the herbs, especially the rosemary.”
As you would expect, there was varying response from the students, but it was deemed a successful educational experience that exposed students to gardening who may otherwise never see one in person. Ivey says the training made available through the gardening team was exceptional.
“The Overalls team is wonderful to work with. They were so informative and really took the time to teach each class.”
TCA hopes the garden project has inspired an interest and appreciation for nature while bringing awareness to the benefits of and the hard work that goes into maintaining a garden. Only time will tell how this experience will impact students in the long run.
Ivey enjoyed getting garden updates and hearing conversations about the garden in her classes.
“They have enjoyed watching it grow and helping harvest the items. Of course, you have some that are not a fan of ‘playing in dirt’. But I’ve had a few ask if we could now get chickens!”
For the record: while chickens are highly unlikely to become part of the TCA educational experience, the TCA organic garden will stick around! Extra produce from this garden was made available to teachers and students for purchase. The funds will be used to purchase more seeds and replant in the spring!
Interested in learning more about Man In Overalls? Here are a few helpful links:
Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maninoveralls
Follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/man.in.overalls/
Read about the neighborhood garden that Nathan oversees in Springfield: https://www.jaxrestaurantreviews.com/farm/man-in-overalls/