The School Garden: A Hidden Treasure

The+School+Garden%3A++A+Hidden+Treasure

Did you enjoy the salsa at the Dorm Fiesta? Chances are you didn’t know it contained tomatoes, jalapeños, and onions grown right here in the school garden.

Most students have seen the school garden, located behind the school next to Lake Sag Field, but haven’t given it a second thought. However, if you step inside the gate during the summer, you will find an abundance of cucumbers, kale, bok choi, raspberries, lettuce, chard, beans, peas, broccoli, and more. Ms. Johnson, the biology teacher at St. John’s Prep, has been managing the garden for years. Over the summer, she comes out to the garden multiple times a week to work.

In the past, vegetables from the garden were used in salads and soups at the snack bar. This year, with the snack bar being catered from the Refectory, most of the vegetables have gone to people who volunteered in the garden over the summer. In the future, we could consider having vegetables from the garden available in the snack bar area for people to take at lunchtime.

Sweet Million Cherry Tomatoes
Sweet Million Cherry Tomatoes

Ms. Johnson also hopes to see the garden become more of a community effort. She envisions a project where anyone from the surrounding community could put in a few hours of work in the garden and then take home fresh vegetables. Inspired by a similar community garden project that is a great success at St. Cloud State University, Ms. Johnson says she would like to “play up the community aspect, see if we could get people interested, and then it could grow.” This idea could also involve cooperation with the food shelf in St. Joseph.

Pumpkin
Pumpkin

One big challenge for the garden is finding enough volunteers to maintain it over the summer. I volunteered in the garden on a number of occasions this summer, and I really enjoyed it. It was great to be able to experience the natural beauty of St. John’s on a lazy summer day, without all the stress and distractions of the school year. And of course, the fresh vegetables were delicious. Ms. Johnson would also like to see National Honor Society become more involved with the garden next summer. So if you are looking for a great volunteer opportunity next year, or if you get a sudden craving for fresh kale, consider volunteering in the school garden!

Blush Tomatoes
Blush Tomatoes

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