School garden teaches more than how to make things grow

School garden teaches more than how to make things grow

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on May 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Updated Friday, May 2 at 6:50 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Some Charlotte high school students are learning chemistry, history, even English, all from working in the school garden.

 
They are getting down and dirty at the Garinger High garden.
 
When we visited, 11th grade English as second language students were working in the school's garden for the first time.
 
The idea behind the garden is that no matter what the students are learning in the classroom, they can take it and learn it out here. The ESL students are working on vocabulary, so they've written out the word “peas,” which they’re growing, in several different languages.
 
The gardener and school facilitator working with them, Bobbie Mabe, says, “So for instance, in chemistry, they're learning about soil and plant growth, and so the easy connection was this is how people grow at home.”
 
No matter what the class subject, the garden classes also focus on nutrition and a sense of community. 
 
“I had one year where I didn’t talk to nobody,” says Gabrielle Henriquez. His family moved here from the Dominican Republic two years ago.
 
“Because you don’t know nobody and you’re just trying to understand what they're saying.”
 
Working in the garden, he says, is changing that. Because here, they are forced to work together.
 
“They’re coming out here and talking to their classmates and collaborating with each other about designs, and then also knowing where they’re food comes from,” says the ESL teacher, Anthi Markatos. “I mean a lot of my students eat McDonalds every day and go to Burger King for lunch, and knowing there is food that is good and you can grow is a really awesome experience for them,” she says.
 
The school also has an urban farm that student interns help run. Some of that food is donated too.
 

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