One reality of school gardening programs is what to do when school isn't in session. We created the summer employment program to maintain the garden during the most productive time of the year and give high school students real work experience.
We work with students that will benefit both from gaining professional experience as well as the structure that summer work provides when school is not in session.
We work with 8-10 students every summer, with many returning for multiple years.
The truth is that none of our school year programming would be as effective without the crucial work that the students do during the summer. The summer group plants the food that students eat and sell in the fall.
The summer program students' hard work sets up the rest of the school year for success!
For many of our summer student employees, this is a first-time job, and an opportunity to get paid, have structure, and be responsible. Various tasks of the students in the program have included maintaining the other Berkeley school gardens at John Muir Elementary, Emerson Elementary, LaConte Elementary, Longfellow Middle School. Most work is done at Willard Middle School, with students working four days a week for several hours. Students learn to cook the vegetables in the garden, preserve some for future consumtion, or sometimes even sell produce to local pizzerias such as Gioya Pizza in North Berkeley and Pizzaiolo in the Temescal district of Oakland.