Friday, March 26, 2010

The Lasting Legacy of School Gardens

In school gardens, there is destiny. Peter McCrohan, whose family goes back many generations in Princeton, told me an interesting story yesterday. Not long ago, he went to his 40th class reunion at Princeton High School, and was surprised by how many of his classmates had gone into agriculture and other plant-related pursuits. Turned out they were able to track their interest in plants back to Miss Compton, who taught 1st through 5th grades at Nassau Elementary. Where now there is a university parking lot, there once was a schoolyard that included garden plots in which the kids grew radishes, peanuts and many other vegetables.

My lifelong interest in plants owes much to a 3 X 8 foot garden plot I planted in our backyard while in high school. The plot was divided up into squares into which I planted seeds of radishes, carrots, peas, cucumbers... Since I had never seen any of these plants growing before, each new leaf was a revelation. That garden's long gone, but its legacy remains.

The raised beds in the photo were built and installed at Princeton High School last November as part of a project initiated by PHS teacher Matt Wilkinson (center), with a great deal of help from Karla Cook and many, many other volunteers.

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