Veggin’ Out: Middle School Service Learning Group Gardens for the Community

Cannon’s Middle School Service Learning initiative aims to “integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities” (Learn and Serve America National Service Learning Clearinghouse). Recent group projects include reducing vehicle exhaust on campus, working with English as a Second Language students, and the following example, submitted by students Ksenya Englesby ’22 and Olivia Harper ’21.

The  Community Gardens Service Learning group, comprised of seventh- and eighth-graders, aims to educate the public about the importance of sustainability through a community-led approach. We have had a busy year planting and harvesting at the nearby McGill Garden!

This fall, the Cannon School Community Gardens service learning group took a trip to a neighboring garden located behind McGill Baptist Church. Most of us had already had experience with gardening but for some it was a new experience. When we arrived we met Mr. Goforth, who gave us some facts about the farm. Such as: the farm is about 1.25 acres, the farm provides food for Cooperative Christian Ministries, Concord First Assembly, and Operation Bread Basket, and they are also looking for volunteers. We learned a few more of the basics and then got to work planting lettuce.

When we went back in December, it was another successful trip! The previously planted lettuce is growing well. On the trip, the Cannon School Community Gardens service learning group harvested kale, collards, and tomatoes. The veggies were picked in small handfuls from each plant and were rinsed in large bins.

Afterwards, the veggies were put in a hand-rotated spinner that removed excess water. The vegetables were then packed away in cardboard boxes and weighed. The harvests went to Operation Bread Basket, where people in need received them!

Overall it was a great learning experience and everyone was excited to come back the next time!

by Ksenya Englesby ’22 and Olivia Harper ’22