Urban Farm Program
DID YOU KNOW?
...that students who are familiar with growing their own food, tend to eat more fruits and vegetables?
...that students who work in gardens are more likely to accept people different from themselves?
...that the school garden serves as a safe place for students. Studies show that students report that they “feel calm, safe, happy, and relaxed” in the school garden.
...that students who have school garden programs incorporated into their science curriculum score significantly higher on science achievement tests than students who are taught strictly traditional classroom methods.
WATCH THE MSD GARDENS GROW!
Middle School students at MSD are knee-deep in learning about gardening and sustainable farming. Led by a qualified team of MSD staff and faculty as well as a group of talented parent volunteers, the students are participating in a unique and innovative Urban Farm program.
MSD’s Urban Farm offers students a chance to learn more about gardening and farming in a variety of different ways. During weekly gardening classes, the Middle School students learn about square foot gardening, weeding, hoop houses, trellises and their environment through the lens of math, science, language arts, nutrition, and health as they collaborate to tend eight garden beds on the MSD campus.
During the winter months, students learn about the future of farming through an indoor extension of the outdoor garden using hydroponics. Students plant seeds in special, “soil-free material” and then transplant them into two Tower Gardens. The Tower Gardens are lit with special LED grow lights designed for micro-greens indoor gardens by an MSD parent. The Tower Gardens grow small plants (arugula and herbs) in a 2-4 week cycle yielding plants with 40% more nutrients than the same plants grown in the outdoor garden.
To introduce students to the value of a self-sustaining garden program students learn how to prepare and package nearly 1,000 seed packets to sustain their garden in the next growing season. The Seed Library is cataloged through the Library catalog system and is available to be shared with other schools.
The Urban Farm also works as a business venture and students learn how to sustain their farm business through a plan that includes marketing, fundraising through grants, hosting farmer’s markets, seedling and totes sales, and farm-to-table dinner events. Eighth-grade students host farmer's markets to raise money for their end-of-the-year class trip and explore the concept of farm-to-table using produce harvested from the Urban Farm in slow cooking classes in the MSD kitchen.
In addition, MSD is excited to partner with St. Elizabeth’s School in Denver to collaborate and help to start an Urban Farm in their school.
The Urban Farm program continues over the summer as well when MSD families tend to the garden and harvest the bounty! The Summer Gardening Program is open to all MSD families and all ages are welcome to water, harvest and weigh the produce.
The Urban Farm/Toddler Garden is a perfect example of the Montessori philosophy in action. Dr. Montessori envisioned a place like our Urban Farm as the most natural environment for developing a sense of self, practicing community living, and being in harmony with nature. In addition, research shows that school gardening, among other things, significantly increases science achievement scores, improves social skills and behavior, increases vegetable consumption in adolescents, improves teamwork skills, and increases a love and appreciation of nature that lasts a lifetime. All of these great benefits makes MSD’s Urban Farm program a rewarding experience for students.
THE VERTICAL FARM AT MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF DENVER!
As you can see from the photograph above, there is nothing like this in Denver, much less on any school campus!
The Vertical Farm at the Montessori School of Denver is housed in an up-cycled, 40' shipping container that is capable of growing over an acre of food in just 320 square feet. This environmentally-controlled, indoor, vertical farm uses artificial, LED lighting and high-pressure aeroponics technology developed by NASA to grow food sustainably. This system makes it possible to cut the cost of growing local food by reducing water by 95% and eliminating all pesticides.
With this new learning space, students of all ages learn about the future of farming but also about giving back as a portion of the locally grown food is donated to food kitchens in the greater Denver area.
Please contact the admissions office or call 303-756-9441 with questions or to schedule a tour of the Urban Farm.