“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.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Holiday Sales Event

December was an exciting and productive time for the Planting Seeds students. The Paperwhites that the students planted were growing rapidly and on track to bloom right before the Holiday Sales event scheduled for December 14-16. To increase and diversify our offerings the students voted to create hand-made soap as their next project. Each student created three distinct and beautiful types of soap. To tie into class topics of environmental impact and recycling the student worked together to save a large number of the small milk cartons from their lunches to be used as molds for the first soap creation. After these were cleaned and trimmed down they made perfect, square soap molds. On day one of the soap making project each student created a small 2x2 inch work of art in permanent marker. These brightly colored works of art were then placed in the bottom of their recycled molds then melted, clear soap base was poured over the top. The result was a fun, personalized, creative gift that added a great deal to our project and the Holiday Sale. Thank you to our Group Leader Emily for this inspired idea.

Having learned a great deal from the absolute chaos of day one (the need to melt soap base for 75 students with one small microwave) we approached day two armed with new equipment and ideas. Two large capacity crockpots kept a batch of olive oil based soap and a batch of goat’s milk based soap in liquid form so that students had the time to create two new soaps. Staying true to our goal of remaining connected to the garden, the soaps for day two were created with healthy natural ingredients. Using the creamy white goat’s milk base, lavender buds, lavender oil and purple coloring the students created really beautiful pale purple lavender soap circles. The second bar was much bolder in scent and presentation. Using the olive oil base, oats and ground cinnamon, the students created a really great looking and highly fragrant cinnamon-oatmeal soap bar that was a hit at the Holiday Sale.

Additional classes in December were filled with “putting the garden to bed,” marketing analysis, creating the marketing posters, working on packaging and presentation, and preparing for the sales event. The Holiday Sale was the most successful to date. The table was beautiful, showcasing the hand-painted pots and fragrant Paperwhites on each side and centered with massive amounts of handcrafted soap. The students, teachers and group leaders put in a great deal of hard work and their dedication and focus truly paid off.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by the sale and supported our project.