Students at CASS learn hands-on, in the garden

By Fran Gonzalez | Sep 14, 2018
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Capt. Albert Stevens School kindergartners, shown here Sept. 7, work in the school garden and harvest food for their cafeteria.

Belfast — The garden at Capt. Albert Stevens School is brimming with blossoms of morning glories, sunflowers, daylilies and pumpkins.

The garden fared well over the summer with adult volunteers tending to weeding and watering, including Jon Thurston, ed tech Dave Hurley, Hannah Raymond from the Tanglewood learning center and, more recently, Malia Demers, new FoodCorps AmeriCorps partner at CASS.

Last June, CASS was chosen to host a FoodCorps AmeriCorps service member for the 2018-19 school year with the mission of enhancing the school-wide culture of health through hands-on learning and connecting students to healthy food.

Demers, who is originally from Mount Desert Island, has been teaching students — through touching and tasting — about harvested vegetables from the CASS garden.

"We're always thinking of ways to have kids slow down and observe," Demers said. "Tasting is a good way to slow down and observe how food tastes."

Demers said she's "having a blast" so far and that, overall, there has been an overwhelmingly positive response from teachers and students.

"There's been a lot of interest in the (garden) space," Demers said. "It's a great way to connect to the students."

Seeing vegetables in the garden has gotten students excited to try them in the lunch room, she said. While one class harvested onions, Demers said, another cut up tomatoes and combined the two to make salsa.

Recently, Demers' classes also learned about hand pollination. With help from the second grade class, butternut squash plants were pollinated.

CASS is currently planning to enter heirloom beans at the Common Ground Fair for judging.

FoodCorps AmeriCorps partner Malia Demers, shown here Sept. 7, teaches CASS students with hands-on garden lessons. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
This rustic teepee in the CASS garden has sunflowers, morning glories and beans intertwined harmoniously together. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
This rustic teepee in the CASS garden has sunflowers, morning glories and beans intertwined harmoniously together. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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