The Deer Isle Stonington Elementary School Garden (DISES) centers around a new greenhouse built in 2021. The Garden Club grows vegetables, flowers, and herbs in the greenhouse and five raised beds. Students learn about food production, soil conditioning, culinary skills, social skills, community building and service, and the simple joy of watching a tiny seed produce edible food. The food produced is often shared with the school cafeteria and community members.
LET’S GET GROWING! is a community collaborative project that engages the school with the entire island of Deer Isle in growing, harvesting, cooking and eating their own food. Community collaborators include: Evergreen Garden Club, Healthy Island Project, Deer Isle – Stonington schools, towns of Deer Isle and Stonington, Chamber of Commerce, and many other local businesses and community volunteers.
Master Gardeners Julie Davis, Jo Jacob, Liz Zentz and Mary Cevasco established the first greenhouse at the Deer Isle elementary school, funded in part by a Blue Hill Peninsula Community Food Grant in 2003. Every year for 20 years over 140 students, DISES teachers, and community gardeners have worked together to learn organic gardening at the DISES after school garden club.
As part of the strategic plan for the school grounds, an Edible Island area will be cleared this Fall around the greenhouse. Soil and compost will be brought in as well as Acadia mix which will provide ADA walkways between the school and the raised beds and greenhouse. There will be an associated culinary class at the high school, who prepare food for senior citizens, community events and their peers, and include locally grown food in their recipes.
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