New Gardens Bring Fresh Food To School Lunches


Samara Adam

South students Anna Mulhern, Joe Kaelin and Maren Stone were excited about the plentiful harvest of tomatoes gathered this week. NHS students in the “Pretty Committee” are harvesting South’s gardens for food to be used in our lunches.

Samara Adam, Staff Writer

This year South High is bringing a fresh twist to our school lunches with produce from South’s garden.

Every Wednesday morning, South High’s gardens are harvested by National Honor Society students for fresh produce to be used in South’s school lunches. NHS students in the “Pretty Committee” are helping bring fresh food to the table as they harvest veggies from our newly planted garden. “It’s actually a really fun way to start the day”, Anna Mulhern, a NHS student and junior at South said excitedly.

The gardens were planted last spring, but this is our first year using the vegetables in South’s lunches. Susan Peterson, a physical science teacher at South has been in charge of most of the planning and work with the garden. South already had space for the gardens near the practice field where many students enjoy their lunch, but Peterson is the one who pushed to make them a reality.

Not only are NHS students helping in the garden however, but students in “Advancement Via Individual Determination” program, or AVID and Peterson’s science classes have been working in these gardens as well. Peterson’s mother, who she described as “an avid gardener” put in lots of volunteer hours on the garden as well. Peterson wants to take groups that are already well established in the school and help them learn to take charge of the garden.

Many of the people involved are excited about the positive effect this will have on the community. Molly Oace, a senior at South and leader of the NHS “Pretty Committee” stated “I think that the garden being outside South where we eat lunch makes it a more beautiful setting to hang out in.” Not only is she excited for the aesthetic qualities of these new plants, but she’s eager to see the effects it will have on the students as well. “It teaches young people how to garden [and] the program of harvesting and planting, which is a really good thing to have in your life”. She’s also excited because gardening has been proven to help lower stress, and it can make you feel more connected to the earth.

“It’s a way for kids to think they actually grew something for the whole school to share, so it’s kind of building that sense of community at South”, said Joe Kaelin, another NHS student working in the gardens. Kaelin is excited for this opportunity to learn more about gardening and for the teamwork he will experience there.

Not only will the gardens have a positive effect on the students, but it is great for the environment as well. The shipping and transportation of vegetables from far away sources eats up lots of oil, so even the simple act of growing food at South can help protect our environment.

You may have already tried some of the vegetables harvested recently, whether it be the cherry tomatoes in the salad bar, or the zucchini and summer squash sautée served last week. These, along with other meals that have already been served are just a taste of what South’s more organic lunches will look like.

Oace is particularly happy about this organic addition to South, especially because she’s a vegan. “Oh yeah, I think it’s the best thing ever”, she said laughing as she talked about the gardens.

The gardens will help everyone involved learn the important skill of gardening, and allow them take pride in serving their school.

“It has the potential to bring South together closer as a community”, Oace stated with hope.