Trenton Grows Educational Garden
Installation design; urban agrarian design
Trenton, NJ
Collaborators: Trenton Grows Inc., Victoria Covert
Client: International Academy of Trenton Charter School
Status: Completed Spring 2018

The organization established a “Garden Club” for first- through fifth-grade students at an underperforming charter school in Trenton, New Jersey. We held twice-weekly meetings with approximately 25 to 30 student volunteers between the ages of six and 12. With the help of the students, we designed and built a small, temporary educational garden on the school’s grounds using mostly recycled materials. Through this hands-on process, we introduced the students to every phase of the organic gardening process, from seed to harvest. It was a joy to mentor these amazing and enthusiastic students, and on the final day of Garden Club to feast on our harvest with them and their families, sending each family home with remaining plants and produce.

00 P1840227-ClassGerminating seeds during our first Trenton Grows “garden club” meeting

01 P1840191-construct1-BeforeThe existing site (pre-garden), across the street from the pickup/drop-off entrance of the school

03 IMG_6675-construct3-tire-layoutA linear snake (with semicircular gathering space) of recycled tires spray-painted light colors to decrease thermal absorption from solar exposure; topsoil delivery in background; fertilizer bin not pictured

03-2 IMG_6703-Construct3-tire-plant“Garden club” participants fill the tire planters with topsoil and fertilizer…

03-3 IMG_6752-construct3-2-tire-plantPlanting non-edible flower seeds and seedlings

04 IMG_6701-construct4-planter-layoutLeftover tires used for play; canvas planter bags on perforated tarp-covered shipping pallets…

04-2 IMG_9155-construct4-2-planter-fillFilled with topsoil and fertilizer…

04-3 IMG_6747-construct5-plantingPlanting and watering edible fruit and vegetable seedlings

05 IMG_7067-HopscotchWeeding, watering, taking care of our garden, and playing hopscotch

06 IMG_2427-jody-armsCelebrating our successful harvest with friends and family

07 IMG_4443-aubrey-flowersA participant marvels at the “magic” that came from a simple handful of seeds, placed in soil, with plenty of water and sun

08 IMG_7111-GardenClubSaying goodbye, and sending participants home with the fruits of their labor

The school closed permanently at the end of the 2017-’18 academic year