Celebration at Wilton High School Organic Garden – Friday, May 20th @ 3:30pm
Wilton, Connecticut – May 13, 2011 – The date is official, Jim Hunter and Kate Eckenrode, the Wilton High School teachers spearheading the garden this year, are pleased to announce the anticipated celebration of the Wilton High School Organic Garden. “We are so pleased to have this opportunity to thank Millstone Farm for all its expertise and assistance in getting the plants in the ground this year and to honor the support of Betsy and Jesse Fink for making it all happen. Jim Hunter, who envisioned the garden along with Betsy Fink and was instrumental in pushing it through noted, “it’s been a collaborative effort to make this happen. It is a positive, long-lasting project for the Town of Wilton.”
Jim was an early proponent of having a school garden, and with early seed funding from The Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation and student support he made this happen. Gathering funding was an early hurdle and the Fink’s also introduced the project to Newman’s Own Foundation that came through with critical funding. Millstone Farm worked with Jim to grow tomato plants for a fund drive this year and last year. The students worked tirelessly to make this happen and raised $1,600 in two afternoons at the Tomato Drive in 2010 and set up a tent with Millstone Farm at the Wilton Go Green Festival 2011 to raise funds to help with ongoing operating costs of the garden. Betsy Fink added “We believed deeply in this project and bringing a school garden to the Town of Wilton. This is a critical time for learning about food sources and building community-based activities. The benefits of the school garden will reach far beyond the halls of Wilton High School and bridge many local resources in the region to work together.”
Jim and Kate made this a true community effort with Millstone Farm lending expert advice; Snow’s Farm from Easton donated soil; and a local construction company, Tracy Castelli & Associates, donated time for construction prep. All of these groups understand the benefits of this addition to Wilton High School and the community as a whole.
First and foremost the organic garden will add depth and opportunity to the science curriculum, directly impacting all 9th grade biology students as well as environmental science courses, and courses in any subject that would like a short term project in the garden (such as Math, Art, Culinary etc…). In addition the Garden will:
• Be a resource for Special Education year round.
• Provide opportunities for high school students to work with students from the other schools.
• Offer opportunities for departments within the school to develop curriculum together.
• Provide chances for students to participate in independent studies.
• Present opportunities to connect with community resources.
“This is a community project at the core,” said Jim Hunter. Besides connecting with Millstone Farm and other local farms and nature centers, the High School garden will intersect with Adult Education programs and garden clubs. Chartwells will be using a large percentage of the food in the high school cafeteria. More produce will be donated to different organizations in the community. “What is extremely gratifying”, noted Betsy, “is that students, teachers and parents can use this garden to give back to the community in Wilton and surrounding towns.”
Everyone involved believes this is the beginning of a special program and place for the Wilton community.