“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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Forcing Paperwhites

One of the many challenges of the Planting Seeds Program is the contrast between the directive to use the garden as the center from which our activities and discussions are based and the many long months of winter and an inactive garden. To keep the students’ minds engaged with the rhythms of the garden and its entrepreneurial potential during the winter, we have naturally needed to shift from outdoor to indoor activities. This change from outdoor planting to indoor projects presents an entirely new set of challenges regarding light, space, access and the physical limitations of our short class period. It has been greatly rewarding to see how the students and the team of group leaders have faced each new project and corresponding challenges and remained focused, flexible and dedicated to the project’s success.

With the December holiday season fast approaching, we have selected to force Paperwhites as our first ever indoor project. These beautiful flowers will be grown with the hopes of adding them to the students’ up-coming holiday sale. To add to the beauty of the flowers and the economic value of their offerings each student hand-painted a small 6 inch pot in their own custom design. These hand-painted pots turned out far beyond any expectations with a wide array of designs from bold geometric patterns to bright flowers and beautiful abstractions.


On the following class period, after the hand-painted pots had a chance to dry we started the day with a brief discussion of bulbs, their mechanics and various parts. Armed with basic knowledge of bulbs, a cost analysis of the project and a vision of the future sale, each student then planted three Paperwhite bulbs in their custom pots and stowed them carefully away in the only space we could find – a dark stairwell.

Currently the bulbs are growing well and are on track to bloom just in time for the “Planting Seeds for the Future” holiday sale scheduled for December 14th, 15th and 16th at the Border Star school.  Thank you to Planter's Seeds in Kansas City for your assistance with the bulbs and a special thank you to Border Star Principal Ms. Langston for the beautiful new garden furniture and for creating such a wonder space for the students to work and enjoy the garden.