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“Edible” classroom in full bloom at CCHS

Photo by Cindy Crosby

Photo by Cindy Crosby

Gangamma’s Mandala Outdoor “Edible” Classroom, created to help students learn more about producing their own food and income, is in full bloom at Colleton County High School. The edible classroom, which lies between the main building and New Tech, is filled with good veggies and is being harvested weekly, along with the daily watering necessary to maintain the health of the plants. “We are visited by crows, geese, insects, and caterpillars, but so far our produce is safe,” said Scott Steedley, founder of the International Center for Sustainability and creator of the project at CCHS.
The effort to create the garden classroom began last spring with Steedley, working with parent volunteer, Missy Carter, and Principal, Cliff Warren. Steedley, along with volunteers and students, built the beds and transplanted the plants after the seeds were germinated in the hothouse at Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center. He believes that the edible classroom project will help educate, both students and schools, on establishing sustainable livelihoods through action learning projects and foster understanding of the necessary balance between people and environment.

“The special needs students have
been a powerful aspect in helping shape the space.”
–Scott Steedley,

Steedley’s “Edible” Classroom Project is in full bloom at CCHS this summer.  Photos by Cindy Crosby

Steedley’s “Edible” Classroom Project is in full bloom at CCHS this summer.
Photos by Cindy Crosby

Steedley, whose goal is to gather and use the produce for use in the cafeteria and to start a student-led local business that would teach real-life skills, has thoroughly enjoyed his interaction with the students and faculty at Colleton County. “The special needs students have been a powerful aspect in helping to shape the space,” he said. “They are always excited and actively learning. They aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty in order to engage with whatever task is present. This project has exceeded all my expectations in the first year. The hard work of parent volunteers, involvement of school staff, and coverage of the project has been wonderful.”
The lush green garden will be a welcoming sight as teachers and students return to school soon. However, Steedley isn’t finished and still hopes to build the project. He recently met with a local bank regarding funding and donations towards the continued growth of the project. He hopes to enhance the existing space, add fruit trees, perennials, install a protection fence, and build a greenhouse. “We need to raise more funds and continue to gain support from the school, students, and community in order
to build upon our current success.”
To find out how you can contribute to the project, Steedley can be reached by email at centerforsustainability@gmail.com or at (843)509-1296. To learn more about permaculture and sustainability, you may wish to watch Steedley’s PRTC Community Post Interview with Chuck Crabtree at https://vimeo.com/122145622 or checkout the International Center for Sustainability, Inc. on Facebook.

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