“Planting Seeds for the Future” is an entrepreneurial/garden project based at Border Star Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri. Working with students in grades 4-6 “Planting Seeds” weaves together themes of financial literacy, small business development, creative writing, and critical thinking all centered on the student run and maintained urban garden. Upper Elementary students will have the opportunity to create their own businesses, with unique marketing, logos and sales ideas generated by the students’ research and production in raised garden beds. Students will maintain journals, create visual art and creative writing projects, conduct research, explore issues of health and wellness, organic gardening, sustainability as well as social and environmental issues centered on food. Planting Seeds seeks to implement steps designed to engage students in positive creative actions, analytical and critical thinking aimed at ending poverty and creating socially & environmentally conscious citizens. Planting Seeds for the Future is made possible by a generous grant from the United Services Community Action Agency and is sponsored through the University of Missouri-Kansas City Division of Diversity, Access & Equity.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Financial Literacy - Jeff Curran and Missouri Bank

At the core of the “Planting Seeds for the Future” project is the goal of eliminating poverty and the belief that teaching young students to be financially literate is a giant step toward that goal.   In an attempt to bring the most current and accurate information to the Border Star students and to reach out to our local business community we have been fortunate to form an alliance with Missouri Bank and their Brookside Branch Manager Jeff Curran.  This week Jeff brought his enthusiasm and expert voice to giving the students some solid financial ideas and advice for their businesses and their futures.  Focusing on the main concepts of Saving, Spending, and Sharing, Jeff used the students' business ideas and personal goals to illustrate a “big picture” view of the students' money and potential income.  Paying yourself first, carefully budgeting for current needs and the all-important, giving back to the community were main topics of conversation.  Jeff and Missouri Bank provided packets of well thought-out materials for students including personal budget sheets, business budget sheets and moon-jar savings banks.  As students prepare for the launch of their businesses within the “Planting Seeds for the Future”  project, these materials will prove invaluable and will provide a solid financial foundation that will help them succeed in business and in the future.  A special thank you to Jeff Curran and Missouri Bank for their time, effort and willingness to collaborate and share this important information with the Border Star students.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Team-Work, Planning & Success - The Raised Beds

From the very beginning of the Planting Seeds project, I knew that it would take a great deal of team-work to accomplish our various goals.  This past Tuesday the Border Star students and the Planting Seeds staff truly embraced the collaborative, team-work spirit as they built and filled six new raised garden beds.  It was exciting to see the students take ownership of the project and to see their planning and attention to detail pay off with such beautiful new garden spaces.  The new beds are 4x8 feet and are divided two beds for each of the three Upper Elementary classes.  Each class had a short 40 minute window in which to get basic instructions, construct and then fill their two beds.  In my mind this seemed like plenty of time.  Needless to say, I was greatly mistaken.  Our goal was to give each of the 25 students in each class an opportunity to work on their two beds, so we shuffled the work around between all the students. The students and staff worked tirelessly and at the end of the school day we had only three of the six beds finished.  At this point, with the students gone for the day, in the following 30 minutes the staff flew into action building the remaining three beds and with the help of Piper, Marlow, Ian and Emery we quickly filled two of the three beds with soil.

Thursday's classes had slightly better time management as the students worked together in their smaller teams to mathematically and seasonally plan out their garden plots, calculating number of plants, time to maturity and maximum yield before the first frost.  After the planning challenge the individual teams planted their plots with a selection of quick fall crop seeds including Arugula, a Gourmet Lettuce Mix, Cilantro and Easter Egg Radishes.  With luck the students will have a full crop of produce to begin their businesses with before winter sets in.  What became clear as I watched the students and staff work, is that the success or failure of the crop is only one small facet of the Planting Seeds experience.  The more important "seeds" that were planted in the garden this past week were the seeds of collaboration, team-work, pride in the results of hard work and a new and hopefully more profound connection with the earth and our food chain.

A special thank you to Andrea and Kansas City Community Gardens and a heart-felt thank you to Phillip, Benita, Jeff and Emily for your extra time and effort.