Story from South Jersey Times. BRIDGETON — On May 17, students, families and staff members from Indian Avenue School worked together, through a partnership with the community organization Revive South Jersey — United for the Family/Unidos Para la Familia, to establish a sustainable fruit and vegetable garden at the school.
Mike Lubonavic from The Abundant Design Institute visited the school through a grant obtained by Jonathan Cummings at Unidos Para La Familia, on May 2 and 3 to teach participants about Permaculture Landscape Design. This type of sustainable gardening uses patterns and relationships found in nature, including zones, diversity of plants, and cycles, to plan energy-efficient high-yield gardens.
Two different garden areas were designed on the school grounds. One garden features annual vegetable and herb plantings and another has perennial plantings including berry bushes and fruit trees.
Teachers Maria Canino, Gina Collins, Mark Raybould, and Fran Ferrara are heading up the project along with a devoted group of families who are both learning and doing as they build the garden.
Participants spent several hours in classes on the first weekend to learn about the concept of using the connection of natural elements including planting zones, slope, relative location, plant stacking with various heights of plants and yield times, cover cropping, natural pest control, and composting. Special thanks goes to Lowe’s for providing many of the materials used in the construction of the gardens at cost.
Everyone from the school and surrounding community is invited to take part in caring for and nurturing the new community garden and to share in the “abundant yield.”
Perennials, including apple and pear trees as well as blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and goji berry bushes were planted. Kiwi vines were planted to grow along an arbor that was built on the site and a wide variety of herbs were set in several locations.
Annuals such as tomatoes, squash, and peppers have been planted in the raised beds. The school is encouraging teachers to take their classes out to tour the gardens and teach students how to care for each of the planting areas.