In the Spring of 2008, the Oscar Mayer Magnet School Garden Project began. Fourteen teachers signed on to introduce their students to the joys of working in a garden. Parents and volunteers prepared a 100' x 16' plot just south of the school's entrance on Clifton Avenue. The kids started seeds, created worm bins, tilled their plots and finally planted some plants! Even our Montessori classes have their very own garden plot on the south side of the building and they planted a salsa garden.
Our main garden plot contains 16 individual 6' x 7' plots: each classroom has chosen garden co-captains who are in charge of their class plot. One 5th grade class had so many students who wanted to be garden captains that they had to write a letter, give a speech and be selected by their fellow classmates in order to earn their title (see....gardening can be cool too). We have also planted a perennial garden in the south east corner of the main plot.
Three eighth grade classes partnered with DePaul students studying biodiversity and together they designed and planted two containers flanking our front entrance featuring plants native to Illinois.
Our goal is to get our kids interested in where food comes from, learn about our hard-working pollinators, create awareness about our environment and to help other Chicago Public Schools create their own schoolyard gardens. We also want to shout from the rooftops that playing in the dirt is fun!
Thank you to all of the families who have contributed their time (and sweat) to the Garden Project and to Principal Katie Konieczny for her full support. And a big thank you to the wonderful teachers at Oscar Mayer Magnet School for your enthusiasm and patience .