Rockdale Harvest Day Strengthens Community Through Gardening
Rockdale Elementary School has long been a beacon of innovation, holistic education and community. One of its most loved features is the school's Urban Learning Garden, where young minds are nurtured alongside flourishing vegetables.
Rockdale’s Urban Learning Garden is an outdoor classroom hosting multiple greenhouses, planting boxes and greenspace dedicated to a variety of produce and pollinator plants. It gives the students an opportunity to explore the vegetation, the community and their taste buds. “Students want to know, is this edible? Can I take it home? How do I cook this? Does it taste good?” Said Dr. Jaren Finney, Principal at Rockdale.
Dr. Finney explained, “So we're always having students explore the different fruits and vegetables out here because oftentimes they're trying things for the first time that they may not have had.”
Throughout the school year, students tend to their garden, learning lessons about sustainability, responsibility and community. Dr. Finney says, “When our students visit the Urban Learning Garden we have classes out here as well as visiting the different fruits and vegetables. We harvest, and do math, science, reading and social studies out here.”
Not only are students learning the importance of vegetables, but the community is learning about the amazing resource in their neighborhood.
On Harvest Day, the kids pick, collect, and sometimes eat ripe produce — leaving their faces beaming with pride as they contribute to a noble cause. The freshly harvested vegetables are open to families within the community. Dr. Finney says, “It definitely gives us a feeling of great joy to know that we're feeding families from our very own garden in the neighborhood of Avondale, and just being able to give back brings a sense of pride and joy.”
Rockdale Elementary Garden and Harvest Day have become a symbol of the school's commitment to both education and community service, fostering not only green thumbs but also compassionate hearts among its students.