Representatives from the University of Florida Extension Service visited the SMA Prep Garden bringing many seeds and seedlings for the fall crop. Cadets planted soybeans, broccoli, corn, kale, cabbage, radishes, peas, beans, collards, and pollinators.
SMA-MAJ Deb Walker, the SMA Prep master gardener, spoke about why this is such an important resource for her 6th-grade cadets. “The University of Florida Extension Service is a huge supporter of school and community gardens. Twice a year, they bring seeds, seedlings and their amazing knowledge to the SMA Prep Garden to share with our cadets.”
SMA-Cadet Tristan, a 6th grader, has shown great enthusiasm and pride in being a part of the SMA Prep Garden. “I really enjoy planting the seeds and watching the plants grow over time.” Tristan went on to say, “I help my grandmother with her garden and I am learning a lot that I can share with her”.
SMA-MAJ Walker’s AgriScience IB MYP Design class is unique to SMA Prep and focuses on skill building, service learning, project-based learning and problem solving within the Design Cycle. The SMA Prep Garden won the Golden Shovel Award from the Florida Department of Agriculture in 2015-16 for Best First-Year Garden. The SMA Prep Garden is one of the inspirations for the campus-wide initiative #projectearth.
Cadets will journal the progress of each plant until harvest time at the end of the semester. Cadets also get to take their harvest to market and sell their plants and herbs on campus to faculty, staff, and cadets. Cadets are exposed to the full process of what it means to grow your own food and provide it to the larger community. This awareness spreads throughout the SMA Prep campus.
About SMA Prep
Sarasota Military Academy Prep is a public charter, middle school and authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, providing students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multicultural and globalized world. More information is available at www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org
About Project Earth
Project Earth is a student and faculty-driven collaborative effort spearheaded by Agri-Science, the Interact Club, and Project Inspire. Our goal is to become an Eco-School, a new certification backed by the National Wildlife Federation. It is a seven-step process that requires audits in twelve sustainable categories such as water consumption, energy use, and campus biodiversity. The certification would be a year-long effort that would promote environmental awareness of the cadets and a chance to lessen the carbon footprint of our school. To find out more about upcoming speakers go to Project Earth
About UF IFAS Extension
The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is a federal-state-county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences, and enhancing and sustaining the quality of human life by making that information accessible. The Mission of UF/IFAS is to develop knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge accessible to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. To find out more visit www.ifas.ufl.edu