[caption id="attachment_35508" align="alignright" width="288" caption="City County Garden sign on the garden fence"][/caption]

SANTA ROSA/SEBASTOPOL – The Roseland School District and Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm serve students of very different demographics, but have come together through a garden project to learn about each other and about sustainability.

High school students from Summerfield Waldorf have come to Sheppard Elementary to help the students plant a garden and share knowledge from both schools about sustainability and healthy eating.

Year one of the two-year program is complete and both schools have been happy with the results that come from sharing resources.

“The collaboration between Roseland School District and Summerfield Waldorf School has been a great success this year,” said Kerry Arredondo, the Sheppard Garden Coordinator and first and second teacher at Sheppard. “Students and teachers have collaborated to create and pilot a gardening and nutrition curriculum where students connect their learning about science, writing, reading, math, and nutrition within the small learning garden on the Sheppard campus in Santa Rosa.”

Andrea Johnston, development director at Summerfield met with Gail Alhas, superintendent of the Roseland district, with the intention of sharing the wealth of each community.

“You can be isolated in concrete and you can be isolated on the farm,” said Andrea Johnston, development director at Summerfield, a private school in Sebastopol. “My idea was to build bridges so the students at each school could benefit.”

Classes were held Tuesday afternoons in the Sheppard garden.

Thomas VanGorden, a retired public school teacher, helped lead a gardening center, an older student or parent ran a center about nutritious snacks, and Ms. Arredondo ran an academic center that was related to the theme that was being studied at that time in the classroom.

Students rotated through the three centers. Students from the Summerfield Waldorf school volunteered three days to build raised beds and general maintenance and students from the Roseland middle school donated their earnings from a nacho sale to help pay for benches in the garden for a community service project.

“We are very excited to have more classes join in the gardening days this upcoming year with the continued support of the Summerfield Waldorf School and our Roseland School District administration,” said Ms. Arredondo. “It truly was collaboration and focused on the best interests of our wonderful students at both schools. I feel very fortunate to work for such an amazing and collaborative district in so many areas but that also values teaching our students and their families about healthy choices.”

From this collaboration came more joint projects. This year Roseland students attended Summerfield’s annual school Olympics came to the campus for a week and competed.

“Ultimately I would like to put together what we did and publish it so other schools that are equally positioned can reach out to other schools that are different and can share,” said Ms. Johnston. “It is not a big drama, it is just outreach.”