Kale-Producing Garden at Stratford Landing ES is Integral to Learning

School News
December 10, 2019

students working in gardenStudents at Stratford Landing Elementary found themselves with bunches of ready-to-harvest kale this fall, which was served to their classmates in the school cafeteria over several days. Students at Stratford Landing are an integral part of the garden: all students plant, harvest, weed, and care for the garden. Members of the school’s Green Club help with composting and recycling. This past summer, Stratford Landing partnered with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture to provide weekly fresh vegetables and herbs to families in need in the Gum Springs community. The school’s Outdoor Learning and Garden are an integral part of Stratford Landing’s learning program. The garden includes garden beds for over 25 vegetables, herbs, and flowers. During the 2018-19 school year, Stratford Landing was able to hire a part-time garden teacher, Mary Charlton, who provided access to outdoor learning and gardening throughout the week. Along with the counselor and ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) teacher, Charlton wrote and received a grant from Apple Federal Credit Union that covered the cost of materials and tools for a horticultural therapy program for approximately 20 students. Stratford also received funding from FCPS’s Get2Green to purchase native plants for the garden. Stratford Landing’s PTA supports the garden with a line item on their budget annually. This year, the school applied for and received a hydroponic growing system from Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom and a mini grant of $500. Charlton worked closely with FCPS Nutrition Services and Arcadia to complete and receive approval for Garden to Cafeteria (GtoC), one of only three schools in the county to pilot this program. Contact Mary Charlton mccharlton@fcps.edu