Reagan Edgren has developed a passion for gardening. She is president of Marjory’s Garden, a project that involves many of the clubs and academic programs at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“We have taken and open space and made it look very nice. We have laid sod, dug out areas for the garden, laid rocks and worked on planting. About 30 students come out on Saturday mornings to work on building this garden,” said Edgren.
She and other students actually enjoy the hard physical work involved with gardening. Edgren wants people to know that the students who are developing this garden really care about their school. “This is being done by students. The hard work is worth it,” she said.
Cyril Yared, a member the DECA program is working to build a shade house where the DECA members will grow various plants. Eventually DECA will lead an effort to sell the produce from the garden.
“I like the idea of growing my own food. I like working on this project,” he said.
Students and faculty at Stoneman Douglas High School are working together to develop Marjory’s Garden. This is a unique program involving the school’s Biology, Culinary Arts, Environmental, Advanced Placement Environmental, Earth Science and DECA students. The goal is to transform an open lot in the back of the school into a large garden project that will provide a wide range of vegetable products. The young people will learn skills such as gardening. Aquaponics, nutrition of the plants, Biology, environmental science. Eventually they will sell household plants that will be grown. It is a wide ranging project that will involve many student groups.
Students have been working hard on this project after school and on Saturday mornings. Currently the garden is in phase one with raised vegetable gardens. The second phase involves hydroponics. Vegetables will be grown without soil using water based nutrients. There will also be aquaponics which uses water and waste from fish waste, probably tilapia to provide nutrients.
There will be a wide range of vegetables grown in the garden. Eventually the goal is to use solar panels and rainwater to improve the garden. There will be a section where vegetables will be grown using the hydroponics method. The project has received a $4,000 grant and is looking for ways to raise more money. The culinary arts program will determine the vegetables to be grown. It is likely that tomatoes and other staples will be grown. DECA members are working on a shade house where indoor plants will be grown.
“We want to create an outdoor classroom, a space where teachers can show them how the garden works,” said Sean Simpson, one of the teachers who is sponsoring the garden. He teaches Environmental Science and Astronomy. “We want to get many students involved. We want DECA students to help with raising money and selling the food we produce. We want science and environmental students to use this garden to learn more about plants. The plan is ambitious and we have big goals.”