Students, community enhance gardens at Old Town Elementary School

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The grounds at Old Town Elementary School grew a bit lusher this spring when the University of Maine teamed up with members of the local community to build raised garden beds.

The garden expansion and improvement project was led by four UMaine sustainable agriculture seniors — Emma Sanchi, Gradeigh Cameron, Ben Nelson and Matt Derrah — for their capstone projects under the guidance of Aaron Hoshide, a faculty associate in UMaine’s School of Economics.

The students chose the project due to their enthusiasm for helping younger students learn about growing plants and the food system that nourishes them.

“This partnership and project between the university and Old Town Elementary School will provide opportunities for outdoor learning, and the garden produce will be used to stock an eventual food pantry for our community,” says Renee St. Peter, a teacher at Old Town Elementary School.

The project brought together more than 80 people, including Old Town Elementary School students, parents and teachers, and 32 UMaine students including those enrolled in the World Food, Population and Environment economics course. Parks, recreation and tourism senior, Ian Hathaway, designed signs for the garden for his capstone project.