Community partnership opens garden gate

Community partnership opens garden gate for PCS
Posted on 10/24/2018
PCS students show that weeding can be fun in the Quincy Natural Foods garden. Through a new partnership with Quincy Natural Foods, Plumas Charter School students are learning about gardening while also participating in their local community.

PCS outdoor education coordinator Courtney Gomola arranged an agreement with QNF allowing PCS students to manage and maintain the majority of the garden beds in QNF’s community garden starting this fall.

Students at the school’s 80 Main St. site, which serves grades seven through 12, have already started to use the garden during their weekly gardening elective class time. Because the beds were already planted, the students could jump right in with harvesting, measuring, and weeding, said Gomola. They also plan to plant garlic this fall.

The adjoining lawn is used as another educational space; a recent class focused on making salsa from scratch using ingredients that can be grown in home gardens in this area.

The school’s temporary site at 80 Main St. includes outdoor space and several large planter boxes. However, the community garden dramatically increases teaching possibilities, said Gomola. In addition, she said, the students become active participants in their community as they walk to the garden and work and study downtown.

The community garden, located across the street from QNF’s 269 Main St. storefront, has always been managed and maintained by volunteers, said QNF General Manager Andrea Wilson. Two garden beds will be reserved for use by QNF staff. But because of a gap in the volunteer lineup, “the timing was perfect” for the school to take over the rest of the garden, she said.

“Our focus has always been for it to be a learning center,” said Wilson, adding that QNF also prioritizes community involvement and interacting with youth. “The partnership with Plumas Charter aligns perfectly with our goals.”

“Plumas Charter School has always emphasized outdoor education and community involvement,” said PCS Executive Director Taletha Washburn. “We see the community garden as a perfect example of that.”

Gomola also teaches garden classes to PCS’s TK–2 students at 535 Lawrence St. and leads outdoor adventures for all grades. In addition, she develops schoolwide outdoor education curricula that include PCS’s Chester and Indian Valley learning centers. For more information about Plumas Charter School, call 530-283-3851.

By Ingrid Burke, I. Burke Writing & Editing
[email protected]

In the photo: Plumas Charter School eighth-graders, from left, Lily Davis, Abra Deocampo, Jenna Bridges, and Justine Kloppenborg show that weeding can be fun during garden class at Quincy Natural Foods’s community garden. Photo by Ingrid Burke