I met with Harris Roussos, co-president of the garden club, with his friends at the Samohi Garden today. Their garden is a nicely fenced plot in the science quad. The beds are PVC manufactured beds. The students have several lettuces growing from seed and are starting sweet green pepper plants in their greenhouse, which is adjacent to the garden. The peas look really healthy and happy, as do the students. The garden appears well cared for, neat and tidy. Harris said he’d like it to look more natural, just dirt and plants.
I asked them why they decided to work in the garden and the answer was that they are all friends. “Sometimes we have the garden full of our friends working on each bed, and that’s really fun. We all know each other.” I couldn’t help but ask them if there are girls in the garden club, and they said there used to be, when they met inside, in the classroom. But once they started working in the garden the girls stopped showing up. One of the guys volunteered that they obviously care more about their school.
The seeds come from the students, and if they need help, they ask Debbie Harding, the garden coordinator for the district. Several groups helped in 1997 when the garden was established.
We’ve had a full week of rain and it was drizzling while we talked in the garden. I have a few more questions for Harris and his friends because they obviously are making this work.
I’d like to know more about how the Santa Monica schools and the city or Santa Monica has worked together to create school gardens in each elementary, middle school, and high school. Two people I know I need to talk to are Bonnie Freeman and Debbie Harding.