On May 11, a new community garden at Lincoln Northeast High School will officially come to life. Students, teachers, and community partners will install and plant a host of new garden beds as part of a project that cropped up during English Language Learners’ reading of a beloved novella about community, diversity, growth, and acceptance.
Rocket ELL students conceived and organized the garden after reading Seedfolks, a 1997 short work by Paul Fleischmann. The novella follows a Vietnamese girl and a diverse group of immigrants who transform a vacant Cleveland city lot into a community garden with crops from each character’s home country. Along the way, they grow, reflect, and form lasting bonds.
Civic Nebraska’s Community Learning Center at Northeast teamed with the students to bring the project to the school. ELL students designed the beds in their classes and have planned and designed what will be in each bed, said Michael Bandy, school community coordinator for the Northeast CLC.
In addition to experiencing how the garden will build community, students will examine how plants and ecosystems work together and will gain insight into pollination, composting, and germination.
Several community partners have joined the effort, including a University of Nebraska focus program at Northeast that prepares students in the areas of food, energy, water, and societal systems. The Kiwanis of Northeast Lincoln also donated significant labor and resources toward building the corrugated metal beds.
Well done, Rockets – we can’t wait for the fruits of your thoughtful work to be realized!