Students bring abandoned garden back to life


By Nancy Edwards

A few years ago, a once beautiful garden on the property of Sand Creek Intermediate School had been left for dead. Plants, wilted and dried out, suffered severe neglect. The ground was set to be destroyed by a bulldozer. A teacher, a dozen students and several master gardeners breathed life back into the garden, even enjoying its plentiful fruit for a meal this summer.

Steve Baney, a seventh-grade math teacher at Fishers Junior High, said he wanted to restore the former agrarian county by teaching students the value of knowing where their food came from.

“The project is an attempt to help students reconnect with the practice that used to sustain local families, as well as learn to grow food in practical and hands on ways as they watch the progress from seed to table,” he said.

This past spring, Baney was awarded a $10,000 Teacher Creativity Grant from the Lilly Endowment for his project. The project, called Sustainability 101, forms community partnerships between local intermediate and high school students and volunteers from the Hamilton County Masters Gardeners Association to create and maintain the gardening project.

Participating students are learning to prepare soil, create compost, plant seeds, care for the growing organic plants and ultimately harvest them as food.