Brookside Elementary School

Brookside Elementary School (elementary school, Worthington, Ohio)

Our services:
2007-Present. Project management, implementation support; funding research.

Project partners:
Worthington Public Schools, Urban Wild ltd., Local Matters, Moody-Nolan Inc.

Planning for this large food production garden began in 2007 with a seed grant from project partner Local Matters. Brookside’s principal Fritz Monroe had already investigated Herb Broda’s ‘Schoolyard Enhanced Learning Program’; this program focuses on getting children outside, and gives them what Broda calls “a change of pace and place”. A visioning session for children, families, staff, neighbors, and interested community members produced the dream for a garden unique to that site: one that represents connection to the site’s Native American history, as well as connection to use of the site by early settlers.

The resulting garden, designed by Amy Dutt of Urban Wild ltd., was built in a circular shape with earthen mounds on the perimeter to symbolize the ancient Indian burial mounds. Each grade maintains a different segment of the circle. A ‘Three Sisters’ planting of corn, beans, and squash follows traditional Native American planting practices. Large compost bins assist children in learning how to return fertility to the earth.

The school cook was involved in the garden’s planning and construction and regularly incorporates fresh vegetables from the garden in cafeteria meal offerings. The school also celebrates several special-event days around seasonal produce from the garden, including ‘Spring Salad Day’ and ‘Potato Day’. Excess produce is donated to the nearby Smoky Row Brethren Church’s food pantry.

A future phase of the garden will be a ‘Settler’s Garden’ area. This area, utilizing a linear layout similar to those used by early settlers in the region, will offer interested Worthington residents a chance to adopt a small plot to grow fresh vegetables for their families. A beautiful garden pavilion designed by Jean Gordon of Moody-Nolan will evoke the feeling of a vintage Ohio barn and will provide fun gathering spaces for outdoor events.

Brookside garden project link: http://threesistersgarden.wordpress.com/page/2/
Urban Wild ltd website: www.urbanwilddesign.com