South Side School students will be able to take their curriculum outdoors with the addition of a vegetable garden, built by the Bristol Public Works Department.
Public works analyst Lindsey Rivers explained that each year, the city gets a grant of $20,000 from Covanta. This year, she wanted to use the funds to plant gardens at every elementary school, and then begin planting gardens at all of the middle and high schools as well.
“I think it’s really important to do hands on activities,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. “I love the fact that there’s interaction between departments, and all the partnerships….”
Rivers explained that the garden will be growing vegetables such as peas, garlic, pumpkins, lettuce, and tomatoes. South Side principal, David Huber, said this will act as an extension to the curriculum.
“We have a couple of our grades that are focusing on planting and learning about planting. So they’ve been doing some planting in their classes starting from pre-k all the way up to grade five,” said Huber. “The kids who started their planting as part of their curriculum, it will now be part of our garden so that we can reap the benefits of their vegetables all summer.”
Matt Cocuzzi, who teaches fourth and fifth grade at South Side, said that his class began an experiment prior to April vacation. The class wanted to know whether soil was necessary for growing plants successfully. About half of his students planted with soil, and the other half planted into baggies.
Antonio, 9, one of Cocuzzi’s students, had planted his green bean plant in a soilless baggy. He said he thought it was so cool that his school had a garden because “you need food to survive and live, and growing food is happy for your life.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.