Holmes Elementary Learning and Feeding Garden
Holmes Elementary is a K-5 elementary school in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Holmes has a diverse student population of 242 including self-contained classrooms for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and special needs.
Ninety-three percent of the students at Holmes receive a free and reduced lunch. This is reflective of the low-income families in the surrounding community that the school serves. Holmes students include youth of color, English language learners, youth with disabilities, youth in foster care, and youth experiencing homelessness. To address the needs of the school community, the AWESOME school staff have started a food pantry where donations are received from local food help organizations.
The dedicated and caring teachers and staff at Holmes have a vision and plan to install a vegetable/flower garden on the grounds at the school that will:
1) serve as a learning garden to be used for curriculum enhancement for the students;
2) provide hands-on sensory projects to enhance learning for ASD and special needs students;
3) provide a fresh, healthy food source for the food pantry at the school;
4) provide an opportunity for students, staff and the surrounding community to contribute to a community project and connect with nature.
Holmes Elementary sits on a large plot of mowed land of which a small portion is used for school recess. There is ample space, water source nearby, and a supportive Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS) facilities department.
The garden program at Holmes Elementary will provide an inclusive opportunity for all students to reap the rewards of working in a garden. A school garden at Holmes will provide valuable in-house opportunities to plan, lead, and participate in a community project that will help feed those in need, and provide beauty to the community, and a chance for students to connect with nature while reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (March 2020)