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Produce Galore

Howard County Food Bank Garden


By Mr. David Weeks, Upper School Humanities, Director of Community Service
Change can be difficult to accomplish but when the timing is right and the need great, it can come quickly. This was certainly the case with the development of the Howard County Food Bank Garden by the Community Action Council (CAC) of Howard County in the spring of 2010. CAC Director Bita Dayhoff discussed the value of providing fresh local produce to the Howard County Food Bank with GCS Community Service Director David Weeks. Their initial partnership had her finding an appropriate plot of land in Howard County and coordinating a student team of workers. With the support of the Baltimore Gas and Electric and the Howard County Parks and Recreation, Ms. Dayhoff secured a lot between two large electrical towers near the Long Reach High School. Mr. Weeks promoted the project to student club presidents, Fahad Ahsan 11 and Lauren Phelps 12 of the Community Service Club and the Adventure Club at GCS. They in turn encouraged other students in their clubs to participate. To build a Glenelg Country School partnership with the Long Reach High School, Mr. Weeks contacted ESOL teacher Carol Ikeda to promote the project with her ESOL students. He also connected with the Howard County Master Gardeners to have one or more of their members inspire a love of gardening in the students and frame the development of the garden into a service-learning experience encompassing proper soil preparation, planting and irrigation. Then on Saturday, April 17, after the green light of approval had been given by BGE and the Howard County Parks and Recreation to the Community Action Council of Howard County, students from GCS and Long Reach High School descended on the plot of land with shovels and hoes in hand. They also had access to a roto-tiller to prepare the compacted soil for gardening. With Mr. Weeks encouragement and that of Ms. Dayhoff and her staff of the Community Action Council, the students cultivated two of the five lots on that first day. In the succeeding weeks leading to the dedication of the Food Bank Garden on Saturday, June 5, the student partnership made it possible for all five lots of the Howard County Food Bank Garden to be prepared and planted. In the process with the guidance of gardening experts from the Howard County Master Gardeners and the Master Gardeners of Columbia, the students learned about soil preparation and proper planting procedures. Throughout the summer and into the fall, students will join other volunteers in maintaining the garden and in harvesting the beans, squash, cucumbers and tomatoes for the Howard County Food Bank. Years hence, the students and all the adult volunteers can look back with pride on what they have done to launch this valuable initiative to improve the quality of life for those citizens of Howard County living in poverty.

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