East Orange STEM Academy Garden

  • Location
    East Orange, New Jersey
  • Status

The Problem

STEM Academy perceives the school garden as a key tool in teaching academic skills. The gardening provides a context for understanding both simple and complex concepts (volume and area, for instance), tracking changes over time, and distinguishing between biotic and abiotic. It is a place where students practice skills like measurement and scientific observation. In addition, gardens are places where students can connect with global issues through the natural resources of earth, advance community development efforts through neighborhood beautification, and leave their green-print in our ecosystem. STEM Academy proactively is raising awareness about the benefits of hydroponic gardening. We held an open house in November where community stakeholders were invited to learn about the hydroponics program here at STEM Academy and observe what our students are doing. All attendees enjoyed healthy snack options including fresh pesto made from the school’s basil plants and a juicing station. We invited NJEA to attend and they published the following article about our program. Students at STEM Academy move to 21st century farming STEM Academy also partners with Sojourner Truth an elementary school in East Orange School district to create food producing urban farm laboratories at schools in the district. STEM Academy and Sojouner Truth have taken the lead as the primary sites. Use of hydroponics for indoor growing, and use of courtyard spaces for outdoor growing, will both be incorporated into a cross disciplinary curriculum for students particularly grades 6-8 and 9-12.

Our Plan

School gardens provide a wide range of benefits to both the student gardeners and the broader school community. For students, school gardens serve as living classrooms that teach lessons as simple as "where our food comes from" to complex lessons on ecology, resource management, nutrition and healthy lifestyles. The goal of this action is to encourage and support the creation and maintenance of school gardens. In order to earn points for this action, the garden needs to have been active during the current or previous growing season and include plantings that produce fruits, vegetables and/or herbs that could be consumed by students. The garden must be utilized to teach environmental and/or nutrition education involving students interacting with the garden for learning activities during the school year.

Themes Addressed

  • term icon
    Community Enhancement
  • term icon
    Food Choices

The Benefit

About Roots & Shoots

We are nurturing the compassionate leaders of tomorrow.

Get To Know Our Model

New Report