Grades nine and ten rotate into the garden curriculum on a quarterly basis providing for nine weeks to experience the work of a season. As is in High School, students begin to project forward setting goals and planning steps that begin to shape their futures. In this light High School gardening classes primarily focus in on the perennial plants around the farm. Orchard care and maintenance of our perennial hedge row play an important part in training our students to observe growth habits, identify problems or disease, pinpoint potential and project for the future, then, thin, prune, dig or weed to renew the plant vigor. High School students also propagate cuttings of our perennial plant stock from the farm and all over campus.
This nursery work leads us into a study of soil health and plant nutrition highlighting the importance of organic agriculture for the farm, the environment, and for ourselves. However, the primary goal of the garden curriculum is to provide a will-based, work centered, learning opportunity for our students. The curriculum is as much about building a healthy work ethic as it is about plants. We aim to implant the ability to work with one’s hands in collaboration with one’s mind focused on a task, instilling hard work, while developing individual responsibility. Agriculture provides the perfect tool to bridge purposeful work with a true sense of value in the hearts of our youth.