The school organic garden was designed with the goal of teaching students about growing edible plants and providing these plants to our food assistance center in order to be distributed to needy families in our La Mesa community. Our garden project is a collaborative effort that begins with a “hands on” experience for students in Grades K-8 to develop an understanding of how food is grown, what plants require to grow, pest control, water conservation (in light of our current drought issues), proper care of different plant species, and team work involving both peers and adults. Depending upon the grade level, students learn to “plant it, grow it, and eat it.”
The school garden committee meets every six weeks on a Saturday morning to do general garden maintenance, prepare the beds for planting, or any other seasonal work that needs to be done. The garden committee consists of faculty, staff, parents and parishioners.
St. Martin Academy is grateful for the support of our local and global community in helping with enhancement and development of the garden. In 2016, the school received a Catholic Relief Services grant award of $2500 which allowed us to purchase the material to build 10 raised beds and put in an irrigation system. The school received a grant of $1200 from the California Fertilizer Foundation which covered the cost of good soil in 2017.
The Village Garden Club of La Jolla contributed $300 towards the purchase of citrus trees in the Fall of 2018. In the winter of 2019, the school received a donation of $2500 from the Father Sproul Memorial Fund to complete the citrus tree project which includes a drip irrigation system. The trees and irrigation were finished during Easter break, April 2019.
The Food Assistance Center received over 150 bags of produce, consisting of lettuce, swiss chard, arugula, carrots, radishes & kale during the 2018 school year. Potatoes, corn & herbs were also grown. Students were able to taste different herbs and take home a variety of garden vegetables.