Each of the nine Garden Gals, the group of women leading Moss Haven Elementary School‘s new mini-farm, is elbow-deep in using her skills to help the garden grow. The Outdoor Learning Environment urban farm, which opened in March, is the first of its kind at a Richardson Independent School District (RISD) elementary. As the Garden Gals forge this new path, they are laying the groundwork for future farms and gardens throughout RISD.
Meet Kim Aman, alias Farmer Aman, alias Lead Weed and garden coordinator. The special education teacher just finished her 18th year working at Moss Haven Elementary, during which time she has put two children through the school that she calls “part of my home.” Last year, a group of PTA parents approached her with the idea of bringing back the farm after which the school was named, except it would be a crop farm, unlike Harry S. Moss’s horse farm.
Aman and the group of go-getters formed a committee chaired by Tiffany Walker who “gets things moving and thinks big,” according to Aman. Though RISD originally told them they could only have four garden beds, they currently have 21.
Each committee member has tapped into her expertise: two grant writers secured several grants for the school, one painter designed the Bringing Back the Farm logo, an architect planned the layout and chicken coop design, a couple of members authored the business plan, and others have used their skills in writing, researching, event-planning, farm-crop shopping, and advocating.
As the summer sizzles, the Garden Gals aren’t the only ones venturing into the farm. Before the end of the 2011-2012 school year, families signed up for week-long shifts to take care of the garden during summer vacation. Whatever they harvest is what’s for dinner.