The Learning Center! Charter School was awarded a second grant of $500 from the North Carolina Farm Bureau on May 5th. The first grant, awarded in September of 2013, gave students the opportunity to experiment with an agricultural technique called aquaponics.
This recent grant will be used for growing nutrient-rich kale. The kale project, called “Kale-A-Bunga” was led by science teacher and grant applicant, Rachel Roberts. “Kale-A-Bunga” reinforces the school’s commitment to incorporating good nutrition into its curriculum.
The school was fortunate to have invited US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Representative, Glenn Carson to 6th grade classrooms for the project. “We are so thankful that our students had the opportunity to experience the knowledge and passion of recently deceased Glen Carson,” said school director, Mary Jo Dyre. “Our K-8 students were fortunate to be a part of Carson’s soil science lesson.”
Students learned about the components of soil, the role of component parts, and why soil is important to their lives. Sixth graders who are studying soil’s science standards helped each student in Kindergarten through 8th grade engineer their very own soil. Students then planted kale seeds in their soil and are now competing school-wide to grow kale in their engineered soil for the biggest and healthiest green kale.
“It is our hope,” Dyre continued, “that the seeds of knowledge planted by Glen Carson will continue to impact our students.”
Cherokee county is a rural area with a heritage of farming and self-sustainability. The Learning Center! has long been a champion of sustainability with projects such as growing edible plants, recycling and supporting the heritage of local growers.
The Farm Bureau grant assisted the school to continue its commitment to incorporate the role of the farmer/food producer in our state through studies designed to meet environmental improvement standards. These projects include designing and conducting experiments based on its investigations and providing opportunities for a multi-disciplined approach (STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Language Arts, and Math) to problem solving and the development of critical thinking skills.