A Garden Grows at Mount Pleasant Elementary

97bc0f315aec5b06ee68_gar.JPG
Credits: Jodi Rothfeld
402dff9a0f9fa1909045_mp_garden_2.JPG
Credits: Jodi Rothfeld
a8e1ee6c80325c92b189_mp_garden_1.JPG
Credits: Jodi Rothfeld
97bc0f315aec5b06ee68_gar.JPG

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Students at Mount Pleasant Elementary School are discovering just how much there is to learn about how things grow. They’ve dirtied hands, planted seeds, and tended their rainbow-themed plots to harvest some healthy treats that don’t come from the supermarket.

Inspired by the work of the Livingston Township Food Day Committee, the school has embraced the concepts of healthy eating and gardening in an effort to help children understand where food comes from, to excite them about trying new fruits and vegetables, and to let them have a hands-on gardening experience.

Garden organizers, including MPE parent volunteers and the MPE School Counselor, Jennifer Kelner, knew they had to start small with their garden idea in order to build support for the MPE garden and secure resources. But things moved quicker than anticipated and the results exceeded their expectations.

Sign Up for E-News

Gardening organizers were able to secure a grant from the Liberty Hall Museum Community Farmers Market and a generous lumber donation from Kuiken Brothers. Plans quickly expanded as students, teachers and Principal Natalie Topylko embraced the garden concept.

The Rothfeld, Doherty and Kelner families worked one evening to build six raised beds located in the school courtyard, which is thankfully protected by four walls. Expert Landscapers generously volunteered their time to clean up the garden space, move soil and prepare the garden beds. And just last week Durante Landscaping came and volunteered to do additional clean up work.

Students voted on the choices to grow, picking a rainbow theme for the inaugural year of gardening. Garden organizers picked vegetables and fruits based off what grows well in NJ and what would fit in the assigned color beds.

Jodi Rothfeld, an MPE parent who is working on earning her Master Gardener status through Rutgers, worked with Mrs. Kelner to plan curriculum and lead classes in garden activities.

“Jodi Rothfeld and Jennifer Kelner brought our ideas to life in a way that really created value for students and their parent school partnership helped launch this garden,” said Stacey Rubinstein, a parent volunteer and garden organizer.

Many classes were involved in planting seedlings as tomato, eggplant, basil, corn, chives, peas, and yellow squash seeds were planted in recycled materials, which were donated by students, to grow into seedlings. Seedlings were then transplanted into bigger “homes” and many transplants were planted into their colored garden bed.

“This volunteer opportunity has been a labor of love. The process has been exciting and fun, and has served as a learning opportunity for all involved. Students have learned about the stages of a plant, what a plant needs to survive, why our space is special. We have been so fortunate that our school leadership and teachers realize the learning opportunities that exist in gardening,” Mrs. Rothfeld said. 

“Students have had to work together and are beginning to gain a better understanding of the word community through garden activities,” Mrs. Kelner said. “The MPE teachers have been very excited about this project. They jumped on board and have used the garden as a means to teach the life cycle of plants and healthy eating.”

“My favorite part of this project has been working with the kids and teachers and to see their excitement about learning something new and gardening,” Mrs. Rothfeld said. “While many students and teachers never gardened before and it has been wonderful to see them become open to the idea. Those with experience have been willing to share and help others. And all appreciated the change of pace from the classroom and the opportunity to be outdoors and get their hands dirty. It's going to be really exciting when they get to make this space even more their own by extending our growing season into spring, fall and winter months.”

The MPE garden has blossomed into a real community garden, which has been enjoyed by more than 20 MPE families throughout the summer who helped maintain the garden by watering, weeding and harvesting.

Robby Doherty said he enjoyed gardening over the summer. “It’s fun to work in the garden and I get to bring home food to try.” His favorite was the blueberries because he was able to pick and snack while watering the other plants.

“This project is so important as it has helped show my kids where food really comes from and it has encouraged my boys to try new foods. They are very aware of healthy choices and the garden has helped,” said Robby’s mom, Linda.

The Coleman family also enjoyed watching the vegetables grow each week, especially the corn, and they have enjoyed connecting with other families through the garden. First grader Jenya Narang added, "I have lots of fun watering the growing plants, weeding and picking the eggplants. It feels like our own garden in our backyard. And I love looking at ducklings playing in the garden."

To see more photos of the garden, click HERE.

The Livingston Township provides many great programs, services and events for the town. This column will highlight some of these programs, services and events.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Livingston

Livingston Lacrosse Senior Jason Scher Named Athlete of the Week

April 20, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston High School senior Jason Scher has been named as TAPinto Livingston’s Athlete of the Week after scoring 14 goals and contributing 15 assists in his last five games—bringing him to a total of 35 points so far this season.

With Scher leading the pack, the Lancers are 5-2 after winning their last five consecutive games. Scher scored three ...

Full Pet Grooming Service 25% OFF

April 20, 2018

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Cloud Canine Grooming Salon & Spa in Little Falls is open for business and owner and pet stylist Melissa DiRoma is offering 25% off a FULL GROOMING SERVICE for all new customers. Call (973) 837-8884 or visit http://cloudcaninesalon.com to schedule your appointment. Mention promo code TAP DOG for discount. 

About Cloud ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Swimming
Camp
Childcare 
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

MAX Challenge of West Orange - 2 Weeks FREE and more...

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The MAX Challenge of West Orange is about to start its next challenge.  Sign up before April 9, and you will receive maximum benefits, including two weeks free!

NUTRITION... MOTIVATION... RESULTS..!

SIGN UP BEFORE APRIL 9TH AND GET THE 'TAP CHALLENGE' PROMO:

12 weeks for the price of 10
Unlimited fitness classes 
Nutritional ...

deAmour Salon - Complimentary Blowout with Other Select Services - $40+ Value

Millburn, NJ - Salon Profilo in Milburn has recently rebranded to deAmour Salon & Spa! In celebration, owners Roula and Grace are inviting new and existing clients to enjoy a complimentary blowout with any color service. Call (973) 379-8300 to schedule your appointment. Promo code: TAP COLOR

deAmor Salon specializes in multiple coloring techniques and stays current on industry ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, April 21, 10:30 AM

West Essex YMCA, Livingston

Healthy Kids Day at the West Essex YMCA

Health & Wellness

Mon, April 23, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: LOVING VINCENT

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_d9041d5fa031b1dc4d7b_best_8b56ef1b9860e2829bb1_teenagers_sitting_home-page-wlogo-750-500px

Wed, April 25, 10:00 AM

Estelle Finkel Center for Learning, Livingston

Upcoming 2018 Spring SAT and ACT Courses

County Announces Improvement Plans for Grover Cleveland Park Playground and Tennis Courts

April 20, 2018

CALDWELL/ESSEX FELLS, NJ — Nearly $1.2 million in improvements will be made to modernize the Essex County Grover Cleveland Park playground and tennis courts.

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. announced his improvement plans on Friday morning, stating that Grover Cleveland Park is a popular site for families and children, and that the playground and tennis courts need to be ...

Take A Chance on the Livingston Library To Conclude

April 20, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Friends of the Livingston Library’s annual “Take A Chance on the Library” Auction & Raffle will be ending Tuesday, April 24  when the public is invited to the Library’s Program Room as winners are announced, beginning at noon. The event invites all members of the community to “take a chance on the library” by ...

Letter to the Editor: Don't Complain. Vote!

April 12, 2018

Don’t Complain; Vote!

It’s no secret that people have strong feelings about what’s happening in our country. It’s also true that much of politics is local. In November, 11th District residents will have the opportunity to choose a new congressional representative who will not only serve as a critical check on the federal level, but also determine how our distract fares ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.

 

Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...