The Greenport school district has received a $4,990 to expand its school garden Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant.
District officials submitted an application detailing their goal of creating an outdoor learning space that helps foster the school and community’s effort to promote health and wellness.
“We will very happily make use of these funds to enhance the garden program for the benefit of students, teachers and community members alike,” Greenport superintendent David Gamberg said. “It’s really very much appreciated and will be put to good use.”
Similar to the $10,000 Seeds of Change grant the district received in May, the monies will go toward the materials, supplies and equipment to continue building the new garden, Mr. Gamberg said.
This includes having technology teacher Mike Davies’ students create the planters, install the fence, and make a work station, which includes benches and tables, for the expanded area.
“From start to finish, the kids are all hands on deck,” Mr. Davies said. “Working in the fresh air, that’s the best. They love it.”
Relocated to the front of the building in November, the district has been creating a larger garden to supply food and educational experiences to students, staff and community members.
“What we’re now looking at is $15,000 that is a real shot in the arm to get the school garden up and running and sustainable,” Mr. Gamberg said, adding that students have already begun planting in the new garden. “It really is making tremendous progress.”
Additionally, he said over 70 percent of Greenport students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, which is one of the driving forces behind the community’s desire to promote healthy eating.
Elementary school principal Joseph Tsaveras said he believes the school and community will “greatly benefit from this grant.”
“We want to thank our friends at Lowe’s for generously supporting our outdoor garden classroom,” he said.
The garden is expected to incorporate agriculture lessons into the elementary curriculum. High school production and construction classes will design and create an outdoor classroom area, storage shed, seating and benches.
In December, Greenport — along with the Mattituck-Cutchogue, New Suffolk, Southold, Oysterponds and Shelter Island school districts — received a $68,000 grant from the state to fund farm-to-school projects.