Colusa Unified School District students walk through well-manicured grounds everyday when they are at school, but when they return from summer break next week they will see an assortment of flowers and vegetables planted by their own hands.
Burchfield Primary School and Egling Middle School students, during summer school, planted small vegetable and flower gardens to improve their knowledge of local agriculture.
On July 31, Burchfield students planted in wheelbarrows, while Egling students, on July 30, planted in two large tractor tires painted in school colors of red and white.
“Seventh graders dug up potatoes from a prior season,” said Melody Johnson, Farm Bureau manager. “Some were shocked that potatoes grew underground. It is so refreshing seeing the joy in their faces when they have their hands down in the dirt. They are so proud of their mini garden and excited to watch it grow.”
The Colusa County Farm Bureau has been teaching youth the basics of agriculture, through its school garden projects, for over 10 years. Johnson said the purpose is to educate youth and members of the community about farming.
“Ag is all around us, but it is disheartening how little most people know about the bounty of commodities grown in our county,” Johnson said. “Colusa County Farm Bureau participates in the garden/wheelbarrow project because it starts a lifetime of learning and growing things from an early age. We discuss the growing of plants, seeds, weather, water, nutrition, tools, safety, composting, and recycling. We expand that into how agriculture is connected to each and every person, primarily through the foods that they already eat.”
Stephanie Archibald, summer school principal, said the garden projects were a good fit with the district’s summer curriculum.
“We had a science focus this year,” Archibald said. “Kids in summer school are excited about school, and the Colusa County Farm Bureau has been involved.”
While the garden activity is primarily designed to help small children understand what it is that farmers do, the project has become so popular that Johnson and Burchfield staff will attend State Conference of Agriculture in September in southern California, where they will demonstrate gardening in a wheelbarrow. n