Our Garden!

We place high value on educating our students about where their food comes from and how food production, consumption, and disposal affect the environment. To that end, we have integrated our garden into the Outdoor School program, helping students achieve a greater understanding of where their food comes from through lessons on composting, flowering plants, watering, soil, sensory exploration, pollinators, and more.


In our Dining Hall, we teach students about food waste known as ORT. We help them avoid adding food to their plates that they are not going to eat in order to minimize the amount of ORT that they produce. We also collect compost from each meal and use it in our garden to help new plants grow.


Our garden is located on the opposite side of the YMCA campus where ample sunlight and drainage provide an ideal location. We have five terraced vegetable beds, an herb garden, and a three-part compost divider. We have grown kale, Swiss chard, tomatoes, corn, artichokes, various greens, sunflowers, herbs, flowers, and more.


Recently, we constructed our beloved “Cob-zebo,” a structure that houses bench seating as well as our cob oven, a dome-shaped oven made of clay, sand, and straw. Naturalists often use our cob oven to teach about cooking, and students are given the opportunity to prepare their own food using fresh items from our garden.


It is a challenge to fit the garden into all of the important experiences we have for our students in a 5-day program, but we believe the garden is a key aspect to our program, and one that students can work towards at home as well.


Our garden continues to grow and is always in-progress. With new staff each year, new ideas and energy bring a wide range of passion and ideas for the SJOE garden. We are very appreciative to all our garden contributors, past, present, and future!


If you are interested in donating funds or materials for future projects or know of any garden-related grants that we could apply for, please contact us. 




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