Working with Rogue Valley Farm to School, Jefferson Elementary School in Medford has established the fifth school garden in the Medford School District. Students and volunteers helped prepare and plant the garden on May 4.
Jefferson Elementary School teacher Jureen Gardner led the effort, establishing a garden committee at the school and obtaining a Medford Schools Foundation grant.
Kelly Eaton, a Rogue Valley Farm to School board member and a landscape designer with Laurie Sager & Associates, contacted local businesses to pull together materials and labor.
In addition to Jefferson, Medford schools involved in the garden projects are Jackson, Washington and Oak Grove elementary schools and Madrone Trail Charter School.
The Farm to School program also is providing training and support to Kids Unlimited staff, who will involve students in the garden throughout the summer. Kids Unlimited uses Jefferson and Jackson school gardens for its summer camp programs, allowing students access to the gardens during the height of the growing season.
Ashland, Central Point and Grants Pass school districts also are working with Rogue Valley Farm to School garden coordinators.
The school garden programs involve students, parents, teachers and community members in garden activities. Coordinators are trained to work with volunteers on the project and are supplied with seeds, plants, curriculum and teaching materials.
The Jefferson school garden measures 60 by 120 feet, is fenced and will hold 14 irrigated raised beds. Future phases include tilled rows, a perennial garden, a compost area, a greenhouse, a tool shed and an outdoor classroom.