DDD helps first, second graders start garden

Ms. Bordelon’s first and second grade classes at Donaldsonville Primary School sit in front of their garden.

There isn’t a fresh market in Donaldsonville, but at the pace Ms. Carrie Bordelon’s first and second grade classes are producing vegetables one is soon to come. The Donaldsonville Downtown Development District (DDD) supplied Ms. Bordelon’s classes at Donaldsonville Primary School with a one-time beautification grant that helps get the kids involved in volunteerism and gives them other ways of learning.

The students started the garden in October and since then it has been the most popular part of the school. Bordelon said the students have even gotten help from the LSU Agriculture Department. With different vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce, carrots, radishes, cabbage and strawberries the students are getting aren’t just learning math, science and reading, they are learning nutrition too.

“They enjoy it. It’s a different type of learning,” Bordelon said. “Trying the different foods that was the biggest thing.”

Bordelon said the kids tried the foods and afterwards they graphed how many like the food and which way it tastes better.

“And they all tried it, that’s what really shocked me. They won’t eat it in the cafeteria, but they ate it here. It’s because they’ve grown it,” Bordelon said.

Bordelon talked about the kids learning the process of gardening such as a potato is the seed and for others you plant the seed to grow into carrots or cabbage. She also said with the garden they are reading and writing a lot about. She said they just like to come and work around their garden.

“It’s like they are proud of it.”

The school’s facility manager, Stanford Knockum, helped get the garden idea rolling by asking the DDD if there was a way to get the kids involved.

“I thought I could make a difference with these kids,” Knockum said who is also the Education Director for the DDD. “I wanted the grant to help this school be momentum to inspire other schools.”

Knockum has been the in school system for 33 years and he said he’s seen a lot in the different schools around the parish. With his knowledge of how the DDD could possibly help supply a grant, he just wanted to see the school he worked at benefit.

“I wanted to see the school, these kids, show leadership,” Knockum said. “I just wanted to see something established. It’s a learning tool for them.”

Knockum and the DDD’s effort provide Bordelon’s students with hands-on experience, “a real-world relevance” as Dr. Tennille Lange, assistant principal, called it.

“It brings math alive, it brings reading alive, they are making charts and graphs of the progression of the vegetables,” Lange said. “It even allows some of them an opportunity to eat fresh vegetables and to try it.”

Lange said some of them didn’t like the broccoli at first but they ate it because they are the ones who grew it.

“It brings it all together and it makes things more relevant and brings them alive because it was something personal to them that they help create.”