This is the second installment in our brand new series, “Our CEO’s Crazy Friends and Their Science Adventures”. Each episode is written by one of our CEO’s friends, who is not necessarily a science expert, but wants to share their passion for science. 

December 2018 Update (World Soil Day)

This summer’s garden harvest was bountiful. A highlight was the addition of a salsa garden, which included chives, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cilantro, and several varieties of tomatoes.  In September, as the season came to a close, we harvested the remaining produce and had a salsa party.  Students learned that home-grown food is delicious and easy to make!


April 2018 Update

Our Science adventures continue.  The Ronkonkoma Middle School Garden Club met to transplant seedlings to bigger pots. Soon, we’ll be moving planting our little squash, tomato, kale, and chard plants to the outdoor beds.  Then, we’ll start making a summer schedule for weeding, watering, and harvesting. Our club members continue to learn about the many benefits of growing and eating their own food.

I’m an English teacher.
I began my college career at Union College as a math major.  Lucky for me, Union’s Common Curriculum requires that every student take coursework across multiple content areas.  One random day during the spring of our junior year, my roommate, who is now the CEO of MyGeneCounsel, suggested I attend a meeting for people who might consider enrolling in Union’s new teacher education program.  “You’d be good at it,” she said.  And so, I graduated as an English major, but I studied all of it.
So I’m an English teacher.

Still, I think the most important concepts I teach my middle school students are the connections that they can make among all content areas. The bottom line is that connections create permanent impressions on growing minds.
As a co-advisor to our school’s garden club, our primary goal is to awaken our students’ connection with nature and eating whole foods; we try to emulate other Edible School Gardens around the country and around the world.  Check out this one.
During our meetings that take place during the school year and throughout the summer, we inform our students about the problems with the food industry, introduce them to the concepts of sustainability and healthy eating, and provide them with small ways that they can begin to change the world.   We watch clips like this one, about the Doomsday Seed Vault, the trailer for FOOD, Inc. and the review of the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma to learn more.

We grow our crops from seeds.  We have learned, together, that it’s hard to grow watermelon on Long Island, and that it’s easy to grow broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  We have learned that weeds are strong, and that they are hard to control without pesticides, but that weeding is worth our time.  Most importantly, we have learned that working together is extremely rewarding.  Our club consists of children from all grade levels in our middle school, children from all social cliques, children from all academic tracks, from all ethnic backgrounds.  They are all gardeners, and they nurture one another the same way they nurture their plants.
~Heidi Edmonds
To see more pictures of our club in action, visit Ronkonkoma Community Garden’s Facebook Page!