Pine Middle School Edible Gardens Feed Community

RENO, Nev. -- The students at Pine Middle School are getting their feet wet and their hands dirty to learn...literally. They have implemented a system for the community to stay sustainable and healthy.

It was a three year project that went from a small garden into an outdoor classroom that teaches students applications skills of science, math and English.

While most thirteen-year-olds like to sleep-in and hang out with their friends during the summer, a few girls prefer to stay at school.

"Well, it wasn't really an obligation because it was fun," Kimberly Solano, 13, said.

It started out as an after school program, but turned into a volunteer organization. Life science teacher, Mike Ismari, started the garden project to enhance the learning process.

"Instead of it being a place where they just put kids to babysit, once the students get their work made up then they come out here and they learn these other necessary skills of survival," Ismari said.

Skills that go anywhere from baking, to sewing, to construction.

"I never baked anything from scratch until I came here to try it," Alandra Cruz, 13, said.

It's all part of a cross-curriculum course designed to teach tomorrow's generation sustainability and the value of working the land.

"They're attentive, they're polite, they look like they actually care as humans. They transform from a child to a young adult, and this is their gardens so they're actually taking ownership and showing people around this place," Ismari said.

He also noticed a significant drop in crime.

"It's just never been vandalized. People stop and look at it as they walk by. They say hi, they come in. The community loves it, they've taken ownership," he said.

The price is also right. They sell fruit and vegetables that price anywhere from a penny to 25 cents.

"We're not here to make money. We're here to make this a community based project that people can come to and be part of it and feel welcomed," he said.

The fruits of these students' labor are hard to miss when you walk by the school. The garden generated about $5,000 this past summer.

Community member can still buy produce from the garden on Mondays and Thursdays after school.


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