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This is ‘Coleman’s Acre’

As the kids make their way back to school, a very special group of middle schoolers are getting back to the acre that they started last spring. Coleman Middle School’s acre began with a set of 2x4s, a roll of weed barrier, compost/soil, seeds and a group of students who were willing to get their hands dirty.

It all started with volunteers who were interested in sharing their love of gardening with middle schoolers. They signed up through SUCCESS in the Middle, a network of schools, sites and agencies that connect volunteers with middle schoolers for tutoring, mentoring or sharing a skill or interest or career.

A donation of supplies for building a raised bed was made by the awesome folks at Elderslie Farm. Alexis Elder led the effort to help the students (and the other two participating volunteers) build the bed, lay down weed barrier and fill the bed with soil. This was the beginning of Coleman’s Garden Club.

During the spring, the kids of the garden club worked hard to sort, sow, measure, document, grow and taste. If you take a look at the faces of these kids as they’re trying things that they haven’t tasted before, you’ll smile. I’m sure of it. How many people have had the opportunity to compare the taste of the baby radish leaf (which tastes like a slightly spicy lettuce) to it’s emerging root that tastes like a radish already?!?

In the garden club meetings, new foods were tasted, healthy habits were discussed and new gardening experiences were had. A couple parents even visited the club sessions, and one of them donated a rosemary plant! One family volunteered their time to water the acre over the summer, and thanks to them (and a miraculously cool and rainy summer) the garden not only survived, but thrived! It stands ready to begin harvesting and cooking!

So now we give props to Coleman Middle School and its garden club. It’s motivating to see these kids actively involved in growing their own food. If you’d like to keep up with Coleman’s Garden Club, ‘like’ the SUCCESS in the Middle Facebook page so you don’t miss the updates. It will be worth your time, for sure.

A word of encouragement to anyone in the field of education (parents included): If you’re interested in getting a garden going at your school (or church or community site even), please let us know. You can email us at We are here to help and can offer resources to help you get started.

**Pictures used with permission of SUCCESS in the Middle and the Coleman Middle School Garden Club.