Cheers greeted the ribbon cutting of the new organic garden on April 27 at the Alpine Elementary School in Alpine!
The garden aimed at teaching students healthy eating, organic gardening and the importance of exercise was put together by students, teachers, parents and an array of businesses and organizations. It is the first such garden in a new Alpine Union School District program. Three more gardens are planned for Boulder Oaks and Shadow Hills elementary schools and Joan MacQueen Middle School.
“We’re very excited,” AES Principal Travis Wall said before the opening at 1850 Alpine Blvd. “It’s been a year since we first planned with Barons Market on a garden. It’s turned out better than we expected.”
Wall said fund raising for the program and helping the children with the gardening were harder than expected, but “we were pleased at how much support there was from local businesses.”
The district program is sponsored by the Alpine Barons Market at 1347 Tavern Road in the Alpine Creek Town Center. The Viejas Casino & Resort and the Kiwanis Club of Alpine donated grants.
Additional major donors included the AUSD Child Nutrition Department, the AES Parent Teachers Students Association, Janet’s Montana Café, the Alpine Education Foundation, Alpine Fence, Alpine Landscape Materials and Ace Hardware. State Senator Joel Anderson provided a Certificate of Recognition for the school and its “outstanding Organic Garden Program.”.
Dignitaries at the ribbon cutting included School Board Director Joseph Perricone, chairman of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, and Alpine 2018 Honorary Mayor Jennifer Tschida, associate publisher of The Alpine Sun newspaper. After the ribbon cutting, students carrying free “farmer’s bucks” lined up to go through the onsite Alpine Barons Student Farmers Market. The youngsters carefully chose purchases from piles of healthy fruit and vegetables.
“I really like how there’s a bunch of food and they’re all fresh,” said Emily, a fourth grader. “It’s really cool.”
Teachers, parents, district and school maintenance and district staff as well as others in the community have been weeding and helping with essential work for the AES garden. “This is a collaborative effort,” said Alpine Barons Manager Bob Ring, Chamber vice chairman. “The kids are having an amazing time. It’s really exciting to see the garden open and finished.” Work and plans are already under way for organic gardens at the other three schools, Ring said.
He credited PTSA President Rebecca O’Sullivan and Hall with spearheading the program that Ring, physical education Coach Melissa Andreoli and Child Nutrition Director Anna Scimone first talked about two years ago.
“We have a garden growing at home as well, so it’s a good idea,” said smiling parent Jennifer Read of Alpine.
(Photos courtesy of Alpine Elementary School Volunteers and Staff)