UMFS Horticulture Program Growing Fast
June 28, 2014
Thanks to a Major Grant and a Generous Donation.
This past spring, The Dominion Foundation’s Environmental Stewardship Committee gave Charterhouse School’s horticulture program a $10,000 grant for the construction of raised garden beds. Volunteers from CarMax and Bermuda Hundred United Methodist Church worked together to construct and install all 20 beds behind the greenhouse on UMFS’ Richmond campus. During our Clean Up For Kids day in early June, more volunteers helped finish the project by filling the beds with soil and laying down mulch around the area, while another volunteer installed an irrigation system.
The goal of the horticulture program grant is to combat the issue of food deserts in the communities where many of our students live. These new gardens will be an opportunity for students to learn how to grow their own healthy, organic food and give them fruits and vegetables to take back to their communities where fast food and convenience stores are often the only options.
Students involved in another aspect of the horticulture program, the Green Thumbs Club, are also learning valuable real-world business experience and customer service skills as they sell plants they have tended all year (herbs, vegetables, succulents and others) at our annual Green Thumbs plant sale. The Green Thumbs sold an unprecedented 1,200 plants at the sale, thanks to help from the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond (winner of the #2 ranking in USA Today’s national 10 Best Public Gardens Contest). Their generous donation of 1,000 flowering plants allowed the Green Thumbs to extend their plant sale for a second day, serving a record number of customers.
Also thanks to the donation, Charterhouse School students helped fellow students in the area. Green Thumbs students created trays of extra plants to share with students at Amelia Street School so they could create gardens of their own, both at school and at home.