–Camila Loke ’19
The summer growing season at the Colgate Community Garden has started!
While the garden team is working hard, it is important to acknowledge the tremendous help we receive from Sam Stradling at the Hamilton Food Cupboard as well as from Johanna Bossard and her high school students at Hamilton Central School.
In addition to planting seeds, the Colgate garden receives a wide variety of starter plants from the Food Cupboard and the high school. This year we received peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, cabbages, and much more. Read on to find out more about the incredible garden Johanna runs at the high school and how we get our plants from her.
Johanna Bossard, an agriculture teacher at Hamilton Central High School, started the garden five years ago with the mission of teaching students about where their food comes from. The garden is taken care of primarily by her classes, with some help from elementary school students participating in an “ag buddies” program that pairs each student with a high school student to help in the garden.
The garden is part of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) program at the school, a leadership organization and an intercurricular part of ag education that strives to prepare students to be successful in agriculture. Students in FFA participate in public speaking and leadership events, classes, and contests.
In an effort to involve younger students and their families, Johanna established the Adopt a Garden summer program. Elementary school students can adopt the garden for a week and support it in various ways, whether that be lending money or taking care of the plants. During the summer, the Colgate Community Garden team also lends a hand twice a week. The garden also has a strong composting system. It receives compost from all classes as well as the elementary, middle, and high school lunches. The soil generated from composting is used in the garden.
Everything grown in the school’s greenhouse is for sale at a plant sale held in May. Johanna and the students plant hanging baskets, patio pots, and vegetable plants for the community. They plant as much as they can from what is leftover from the sale straight into their garden, and give what still remains to us.
The Colgate Community Garden has been receiving plants from Hamilton Central for about three or four years, and we are very grateful for this partnership. Receiving starters gives the garden a head start on the summer growing season, which means that harvesting and farm stand sales can start earlier. We’re looking forward to enjoying some harvests soon!