Marcia Kegel, history teacher at Desert Hot Springs High School, and the students’ Interact Club had a vision of a school garden where classes of all types: science, nutrition, life skills, special education and the arts could all learn from growing produce in an outdoor garden. In a partnership that included Slow Food Desert Cities, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Desert Healthcare District and the Pinnacle School Site Fund, $5,000 was raised to fund the garden. Plans were drawn to include six raised garden beds with automatic irrigation enclosed by a new fence. The 4’x8’ raised beds were constructed by the DHSHS wood shop. On Saturday, March 24, 2012, 50 volunteers showed up to dig irrigation trenches and fill the beds with organic mix contributed by California Bio-Mass.
The garden beds are now ready for planting and achieve the students’ goal of creating their Earth Science classroom. The Special Education Department will have students work in the garden as an extension of Life Skills classes. The Nutrition teacher will use the garden to teach how to successfully grow and harvest vegetables in a manner that promotes healthy eating habits and sustainability within the community. Plans are already underway for the High School’s Energy Academy to build a solar shed. The Art Department is developing signs promoting what is happening in the garden and acknowledging contributions made by many.