Fresh Food Makes Way to the Woodgrove Café

Photo+by+Dominique+Cruz

Photo by Dominique Cruz

Written by Dominique Cruz, Dillon Holdridge, and Sarah Murtaugh

Woodgrove’s AP Environmental classes bring something new to the table. Fresh produce grown by students are playing a big role in Woodgrove’s cafeteria. Run by Mrs. Candace King, a science teacher, students enrolled in the AP Environmental class grow a variety of vegetables in a garden such as lettuce, cab­bage, and broccoli, that will be donated to the school’s cafeteria throughout the school year.

The school garden started off as a senior project in the 2014-2015 school year and shortly blossomed into a student-run healthy initiative. Al­though most students are unaware of the healthy food being grown right outside their window, the benefits still have a positive impact on them.

The cafeteria tries to incorporate all the food they can into school meals. “If the reci­pe we use calls for onions, and they [the stu­dents] grows onions, we’ll use it,” stated Mrs. Genelda Bartling, School Cafeteria Manager.

Mrs. Marty Potts, a Woodgrove World Histo­ry teacher, first had the idea of making a school garden, where the cafeteria would be receiv­ing fresh produce. With the help of foreign language teacher Mr. Tim Brown, they came together and plotted out small areas to begin the process of the garden. Mrs. Potts is a well-known farmer to her faculty and students.

“I’ve been involved over the last 40 years with agricultural education and the promotion of foods and fibers, with my farm,” said Potts. “We had a dairy for over 40 years where we provided milk to the Washington and Baltimore markets and now we have an angus beef farm.”

Last year, Potts handed over the responsibility of the garden to her fellow staff member, Mrs. Sara Miller. Now that Mrs.King is teaching an AP Environmental class, she has started to take over the program.

“Our goal is to have it be an example of community agriculture, and how they [the students] can help make a difference,” stat­ed King, “Just empowering them, like if you can do this here, you can do this at home.”

Currently, the garden is yielding food like onions, potatoes, and carrots, but when springtime comes, tomatoes and peppers will be added to the mix.

“We are going to donate the vegetables to the cafeteria and let them have first pick of the vegetables to help prepare the food, so it is actually from farmer to table. It’s as organic as you can get,” said King

Once the food gets to the cafeteria, it is incorporated into the meals. “We have signs that say school grown, so the students will know that it came from our garden,” said Mrs.Bartling.

Mrs. Potts is proud to see the pro­gram continue to help the school.

“It was a way to integrate biology, science, history all together in the development of var­ious fruits and vegetables that we could plant on our wonderful campus here at Woodgrove.”