The Cornucopia Project brings edible education to all eight elementary schools in the ConVal School District. First grade students take part in the garden program lessons during the spring months and finish the “garden cycle” as they transition to second grade in the fall. At two schools, all grades participate in the program.
Cornucopia garden teachers visit each school weekly during the spring and fall. They lead hands-on garden lessons and plant and harvest vegetables, herbs and edible flowers with students. Each school has an array of garden beds on their school grounds. As part of the garden program, most of the garden beds were built by students.
Antrim Elementary School has 3 raised beds for students in grades 1 and 2.
Dublin Consolidated School has 7 raised beds, a sapling teepee, one in-ground bed and a compost bin for students in grades K through 5. Much of the garden produce is used in the school cafeteria.
Francestown Elementary School has 3 raised beds for students in grades 1 and 2.
Greenfield Elementary School has 5 raised beds for students in grades 1 and 2.
Hancock Elementary School has 3 raised beds, 2 “lasagna beds”, a sapling teepee, and several Three Sisters mounds for students in grades K through 4. Students gather their vegetables every fall to cook a delicious harvest supper for their school community.
Peterborough Elementary School has 9 raised beds, as well as a 3-bin compost area, for students in grades 1 and 2. Students are excited to bring some of their vegetables to the school cafeteria, where they can also make kale chips!
Pierce Elementary School (Bennington) has 3 raised beds for students in grades 1 and 2.
Temple Elementary School has 3 raised beds and a compost bin for students in grades 1 and 2. Students collect some of the produce for a community harvest dinner each fall.
Lesson Plan Overview
We scaffold our spring and fall lessons to build upon what students have already learned in previous grades, and take into account their developmental stage, interests and abilities, and academic needs. We emphasize place-based education and stewardship, and promote experiences that allow children to develop a relationship with their surroundings.
Here’s a snapshot of our spring programming:
Theme: Exploring the Garden with Five Senses
Sample Lesson: Sheep, Shoes and Sunflowers
Plants: Sunflowers, carrots, pumpkins
Grades 1: The Garden Detectives
Theme: Discovery of Plants
Sample Lesson: Soil Explorers
Plants: Beans, snap peas, beets
Grade 2: The Botanists
Theme: Systems, Interdependance, Structure and Function
Sample Lesson: Flower Investigation
Plants: Tomatoes, kale, lettuce
Theme: The Neighborhood
Sample Lesson: Using Weather Instruments
Plants: Squash, pole beans, potatoes
Grades 4 and 5: The Production Gardeners
Sample Lesson: Food Map
Plants: Spinach, brussels sprouts, garlic