Crisp lettuce, sweet figs and sun-ripened tomatoes are a few of the fresh fruits and vegetables that can be found in the Locust Valley High School garden. The produce is planted and cared for by the Garden Club.

While the club teaches its members basic gardening skills, students gain so much more as they learn about the environment, nutrition and working together. Once it’s ready to harvest, the young farmers bring their produce to the school cafeteria, where the staff turns it into delicious salads and vegetable dishes. The prepared dishes are offered to the student body during lunch. 

Students in the high school’s Personal Academic Support Services program started the Garden Club several years ago and have watched the seeds they planted grow, both literally and figuratively. The club has expanded to include middle and high school students. PASS program participants and some of their friends have taken on the responsibility of composting five days a week. The students take the composting materials from the cafeteria’s kitchen and bring it to the composter in the garden to fertilize the crops. Club members have also borrowed kitchen space to cook their own kale chips and asparagus. In addition to partnership with the school cafeteria, the club is grateful for the help they receive from the custodial staff to maintain the garden.

Club advisers Tina Hament and Alyssa Anderson said that teaching young people to grow their own food is an invaluable life lesson. “They are learning how to feed themselves and others and to sustain the environment,” said Hament. She added that many of the club’s members had no prior knowledge of gardening and are now planting their own gardens at home. “It is a great skill that they truly enjoy,” she said.