edible-gardens-2-7Early Childhood Facility, northwest Columbus Ohio

Our services:
2005-Present. Collaboration on visioning session; site layout, design, budget, and implementation oversight; volunteer coordination; funding research.

Project partners:
Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Franklin Park Conservatory’s Growing to Green Program, The Columbus Foodshed Project, Scott’s Urban Garden Academy, The Rodale Institute, The Columbus Foundation, Knoll’s Garden Club, Local Matters.

The Edible School Garden at ECLC was visioned as an integral piece of a larger outdoor play environment for the children. An existing small raised-bed garden prompted considerable interest from the staff and the children. The decision was made to expand the edible garden space to accommodate additional experimentation in growing fresh food on-site.

edible-gardens-2-3Today, the edible garden area is in the shape of a large spiral. Annual and perennial vegetable crops and herbs are grown in the ground, as well as in raised container plantings to allow access by children with physical disabilities. An adjoining small orchard and a strawberry patch provide opportunities for growing and tasting fresh, seasonal fruits. A large 1,000-gallon cistern provides abundant harvested rainwater for thirsty crops during hot Ohio summers. A local organic farmer provides weekly lessons for the children during much of the school year, and offers additional summer gardening programs for the children and their families.