Two area schools awarded gardening grants | Education | #education | #technology | #training

Edisto Primary and William J. Clark Middle are two Orangeburg County schools that have recently received the South Carolina School Gardening Grant. The grant is through a partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education, Clemson Extension and Boeing. School Gardening for SC Educators is an extension-based program that combines horticulture training, ongoing technical support and equipment for schools to start and sustain successful school gardens. The program uses innovative approaches to overcome common school gardening obstacles such as poor soil, seasonality and food safety concerns specific to school gardening.

Educators engage in a five-week online professional development course. Teams of three school faculty members are encouraged to build sustainability into the program. Upon completion, licensed South Carolina teachers receive 20 renewal credits approved by the South Carolina Department of Education.

Clemson Extension offers turn-key school garden kits through this program as part of the school gardening training program. These turn-key kits are designed to equip educators with the materials needed to establish a thriving school garden. All materials are delivered directly to the school. Each participant receives program materials, including The Garden STEM Science Technology Engineering & Math Curriculum for Your Garden Classroom, a comprehensive curriculum for K-8 students aligned to South Carolina educational standards. Additionally, the regionally specific technical guide, Seasonal Planting Guide, and Calendar for School Gardens: Upstate region or Lowcountry region is provided. The guide instructs school gardeners when to plant transplants and seeds in a series of four raised beds. It also indicates when to harvest a wide array of common vegetables. The calendar begins as the school year opens (August) and ends in late spring (May), when sweet potatoes are planted and allowed to grow over the summer so that students can harvest them upon their return in the fall.

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