We Are What We Grow and Eat

The Mt. Hebron Middle School in Montclair, Essex County, has a freestanding greenhouse that has been fully operational for two years with a science curriculum developed on site. Past projects were financially supported by PTA grants and other community organizations, which continue to help fund this project’s future. The Hipp Foundation awarded teacher Nino La Stella a $3,600 grant to help fund the culminating activity for the eighth-grade students involved in the greenhouse project during the last school year. Because of the scope of the program, it takes two full years to complete.

The middle school is divided into seven “houses” of students. Each house plans and constructs their individual raised-bed vegetable gardens.

Students learn methods of growing organic produce, decode nutritional information supplied by USDA, select vegetable recipes, construct layout of crops, sample the first fruits, and donate vegetables to the local food pantry. The director of the local food pantry made a presentation to the students at the June 11th Greenhouse Acknowledgment of Student Work.

The seven gardens serve as permanent structures to be used by successive years of eighth-grade students. Each year, students will replant and raise organically-grown vegetables that will be donated to the local food pantry.

For further information, contact:

Nino P. La Stella
School - (973) 509-4220