Through a Department of Energy grant at my workplace we were able to purchase install and begin offering programming out of a 22′ Geodescic Growing Dome. The growing dome greenhouse offers endless opportunities for creative experimentation, native plant seed starting, as well as lots of succulent fresh vegetables, fruit, and flowers all year round.
The kids have opportunities to get their hands in the soil and distinguish between “dirt” and being “dirty”. The disappearance of backyard gardens and home economics within schools and the lack of fresh nutritious foods cooked at home leaves kids with a huge void in these important life skills. The opportunity to plant and harvest and make a meal is so self-reliant that it almost becomes a gentle rebellion of sorts.
Students visit the grow dome as part of our field trip curriculum. Program leaders may select and schedule fully focused gardening curricula or students may have a brief opportunity for exposure on a visit within other programs like seasonal discovery nature explorations, recycling with compost, scout badges like Ready, Set, Grow or through our Gardening clubs.
One of the most popular topics is “Lettuce Celebrate” where students may make recycled newspaper pots, prepare soil, plant lettuce seeds, harvest lettuce in the growing dome and make an oil & vinegar emulsion and enjoy some healthy green eats.
I’m looking forward to developing many opportunities out of this new classroom space, helping kids connect with their own green thumb and learning far more about gardening myself.