by Tori Hamby
HUNTERSVILLE – Students at Ramah Christian Classical School, on Eastfield Road, toiled in their school garden amid heat and humidity, in an effort to help put food on the table for local needy community members.
Eleven kindergarten through fourth-graders tilled and watered their individual plots, where the first signs of their spring harvest, which will include radishes, tomatoes, lettuce and a wide array of other vegetables, had sprouted. At the end of the growing season, the students and Ramah Christian Headmaster David Blossom will take their crops to Angels and Sparrows Soup Kitchen in Huntersville, where the vegetables will help feed soup kitchen visitors.
“It’s great because they take ownership of their work,” Blossom said. “It reinforces the idea that ‘Man, I have a lot, and I can give a lot,’”
Each student receives a plot in the 19-by-19-foot garden, located behind Harvest Community Church, at 13301 Eastfield Road, where the school is located.
Students get to choose the vegetables they plant and head outside once a week to hone their green thumbs and tend to the garden.
Eleven-year-old Dillon Tripodi said gardening doesn’t come without challenges.
“The harvesting and tilling up the ground is probably the hardest part,” Dillon said. “You have to put a lot of effort into it.”
“We dig in the dirt to make it more loose,” added 6-year-old Zac Westmoreland. “We all have our own plots so that we don’t step on each other’s vegetables.”
Seven-year old Alex Martin said that while gardening is hard work, it “feels great” to be able to help those who are less fortunate.
Blossom said the school plans to “triple the size of the garden” next year, when school enrollment is expected to increase, and add another growing season in the late fall. Ramah students began the program last fall, although the garden’s vegetable selection was limited to cabbage, lettuce, spinach, radishes and broccoli.
“I really wanted them to see the variety of the things they could plant this time around,” Blossom said.
Even Ramah parents get their hands dirty for the cause. Several parents tended the garden while the school was out on spring break.
“Last week, I went to Michigan and wasn’t around to water the garden once a day,” Blossom said. “Parents had no problem getting out there and helping. They have been very supportive.”
And while the process of watching vegetables grow gives students a hands-on science lesson, it also teaches them a greater lesson about the importance of giving and gratitude. Because each student must work in his or her own plot weekly, students are more appreciative and aware that food doesn’t magically appear on their tables.
“It reinforces the practical lessons of giving,” Blossom said. “We share our tools, we share our food, we share our efforts. It’s a very natural thing – a very real thing. We are trying to get them to model the life of Christ”
For more information about the garden, which relies on donations of composted soil and seeds, contact the school at 704-948-7333.