Mickle class grows leaders, vegetables

Katie Hammond hopes the students in her Guided Studies course at Mickle Middle School grow as leaders and active members of the community. The 8th-grade science teacher also hopes they grow some tasty vegetables for those who may not typically have access to fresh produce.

Hammond and her 11 Guided Studies students this semester are tending to and gathering vegetables grown in the Mickle Garden, a community garden located on the school’s east side. Every Friday they drop off that week’s haul at the school counseling office, where other students can fill a shopping bag to take home at the end of the day - similar to the school district’s BackPack program, which provides food-filled backpacks to students in need of food over the weekend. 

“We get to help people in the community and help people who don’t have access to vegetables,” said Hayden, one of the students.

The school’s counselors identified families who might be interested and sent home a permission slip that included a list of 24 vegetables available from the garden - everything from carrots and summer squash to chard and Anaheim peppers. Families could select which vegetables they wanted. 

Hammond’s students also have supplied tomatoes to the school’s Family and Consumer Science classes to make salsa. Mickle Community Learning Center’s Gardening Club uses the garden, as well.

“We had not been using the garden to its full potential,” Hammond said. “We’ve got kids and families who need the vegetables.”

Added Nicki Hanseling, Mickle’s 6th-grade counselor: “It’s been amazing watching students come through and collect fresh produce to take home to their families.”

Students volunteer for different jobs in the garden - watering, weeding, picking, push mowing. 

“You can get down and dirty,” said another student, Hunter, as he picked tomatoes during class on a recent morning.

This is the second year that Mickle has offered the Guided Studies course, which teaches leadership and character in the classroom, the school and the community.

Published: September 28, 2017, Updated: September 28, 2017

“We get to help people in the community and help people who don’t have access to vegetables,”

Hayden, Mickle Student