On October 16 Cheatham students spent some time outdoors revitalizing their campus gardens with some new plants and seeds. It was a project that involved numerous community organizations to get off the ground with a long-term vision of creating a community-based school.

“Cheatham is working on establishing a school that works collaboratively with the community to provide a safe space to learn and grow,” Principal Kristi Pashley said. “A perfect place to start is in the existing garden area.  It is a beautiful spot that with a little love can open the door to an array of learning experiences and community partners.”

The school partnered with GreenDesert.org, an organization that teaches self sufficient lifestyles, to get the project started. GreenDesert.org founder Quita Jackson reached out to the Arizona Worm Farm which donated six 5×5 garden beds.  Arcadia Color Garden Nursery donated the plants and seeds, “We love to see them get their hands in the soil, see the sprouts come up, watch the plants develop and make the connection of growing plants that show up on the dinner table,” Arcadia’s operations manager Bill Jones said.

“This is real life science… School gardens lead to home gardens which leads to more people making our environment a priority,” said Jackson. “Gardening brings so many rewards and life lessons. If I had it my way, there would be gardens in every school and community.  It’s just a start.”

“A strong garden will eventually play a significant role in supporting the physical and emotional well-being of our Cheatham family and beyond,” Pashley said. “The garden may begin at Cheatham, but our hope is to see its effects throughout the Laveen community.”