Edible Ajo Schoolyard (EASY)

Program Type: 
Garden Classrooms
Grade Level/Age Group: 
Adults/Professionals, Upper Elementary, Lower Elementary, Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten
Number of Individuals Program Serves: 
Year Founded: 
About the Program: 

Ajo Edible School Yard Program The Ajo Unified School District (AUSD) School Garden Program began in the spring of 2008 driven by the then-public health nurse Fran Driver, also an AUSD parent. The program soon partnered with Desert Senita Community Health Center (DSCHC) and grew to serve 2 Elementary Science and Math classes and 3 High School Culinary Arts Classes. In spring 2013, the AUSD and DSCHC, received a small grant that allowed DSCHC Garden Promotora, Melanie Daniel and AUSD Principle, Brian MacKenzie to attend the Edible School Yard Project training at Berkley California. The project’s mission is to prepare graduates to instruct students in essential life skills while supporting academic learning through hands-on classes in organic gardens and kitchen classrooms. The grant also covered some supplies to build the outdoor school yard. Located in the elementary courtyard, the outdoor garden class room is fenced and provides straws bales for seating. Permanent shade structures are a future addition. Much appreciation is given to Principal MacKenzie for making this the first school year the program has been a mandatory class for all pre-K thru 7th grade students. With the overall focus on science and social studies, this semester included the importance of soil composition, plant parts, planting and the role of earthworms and pollinators. “ We are fortunate to have Margot Bissell from Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge partner with us to teach students about the pollinators in the garden and our local environment. Nutrition is also part of the plan and each lesson is to be completed with students tasting a morsel of local food which is mostly donated by the community. “ The Get Going Get Growing (4G) Interns have been working hands-on all semester and have been important to the success of the program. They help students learn tool safety and planting skills as well as working after school hours to do lots of digging for installation of fencing and irrigation. (This was a news release in our local news paper, the training we received from the Edible School Yard made this possible!)

Program Members: