Stevensville school plans garden upgrades with One School at a Time grant

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STEVENSVILLE, Mich. (WNDU) - Fall harvest is underway in farm fields, backyards and an elementary school garden in Michigan.

Hollywood Elementary School, part of Lakeshore Public Schools, features an expansive garden that has been the pride and joy of the Stevensville community for more than 20 years.

The work is divided up among classes, and children learn great lessons about growing their own fruits and vegetables.

“My favorite vegetables are corn and peas,” Parker Stover said.

The second-grader knows a thing or two about veggies and fruit.

“Well, I love to eat all the fruit here," he said. "My favorite fruit is the watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and … grapes.”

Hollywood’s natural classroom is full of colorful, lush flowers and healthy fruits and vegetables, all grown by the students.

“The squares are devoted to different grade levels,” teacher Perry Heppler explained. “Every grade level takes charge of a different square. For example, my second-graders this spring will plant carrots, and then they will come back as third-graders and harvest the carrots.”

A grant from Lakeshore Excellence Foundation helped them build a shed that sits at the edge of the garden. Martin’s Super Markets' One School at a Time grant will help them finish the inside with work benches and sinks.

“In the wintertime, we might have some plants still growing in there,” second-grader Beckett White said. “And it's going to be our kitchen where we wash all the stuff and then we eat it.”

The money from Martin's will help pay for the materials, and Lakeshore High School students are already hard at work constructing them.

“We want to make a connection with healthy eating and cooking with fresh things,” Heppler said.

“Everybody is learning about this big garden, so they can know how plants grow and how they eat it,” Stover said.

“You get to help in them,” White said. “You get to learn new things, like how to plant stuff. And learn, like, what plants are.”

The community is invited to learn about the garden by attending Hollywood Elementary School’s Fall Harvest Fest. It’s a PTO fundraiser that includes food, games, a raffle and market.

It will be held Friday night from 5-7 p.m. at Hollywood Elementary, 1455
Cardinal Avenue, Saint Joseph, Michigan.

If you're interested in applying for a Martin's Super Markets One School at a Time grant or you would like to learn more about the official rules, visit wndu.com/features/oneschool.