pic-Pine-Richland garden projectStudents at Wexford Elementary School are learning more about organic gardening while giving back to the community.

The idea grew from the help of parent Kristi Wees, chair of the Wexford Elementary Health & Wellness Committee. She was inspired to encourage Wexford staff and students to put in an organic garden in the courtyard.

“The idea came from our checklist from the Healthy Schools PA,” she said. “Having a school garden was just one idea that schools could do to be healthier. Keeping the garden organic was an important piece.”

Wees also said the idea also helps students to learn about where food comes from and more about organic gardening.

“There’s a lot of ways to include this in the curriculum and provide hands-on learning opportunities,” Wees said.

Parents, students and staff have been tending to the garden since June. The PTO raised funds to purchase supplies from Sam Brehm, a 2004 Pine-Richland High School graduate and owner of Brehm Co. Garden, a local gardening business. Brehm donated his time and expertise.

Student Ashlynn Wees says she was a big fan of this project: “It was great, because we were able to care for the plants and pick the tomatoes,” she said. “I was able to see all the different kinds of tomatoes.”

The project overall is a win-win, because the school is donating the food to Central Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. Church deacon Ernest Darby picked up the first crop on Aug. 29, 2016. He was delighted to have the fresh produce which will be used to serve meals to those in need.

“We have a food kitchen and feed those in need,” he said. “They’ll appreciate this. Thank you for thinking of us.”

The school was paired up with the kitchen through the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank.