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Maxwell Elementary receives Westerra grant

Garden Produce photo credit Benjamin Brunner and Unsplash
Garden Produce photo credit Benjamin Brunner and Unsplash

Jan. 15th, 2021

Jessie Whaley Maxwell Elementary School received a Westerra Credit Union grant to renovate the school garden and add perennial fruit and vegetable plants.  The garden at Maxwell was developed through a partnership with Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) and the school.   A quarter of the garden is reserved for teachers, students and classes and the remainder can be planted by community gardeners from the neighborhood. 

Red Sun Sunflower

Red Sun Sunflower

Maxwell will host the summer Garden of Youth job skills development internship.  Garden of Youth (GoY) is a 10-week paid internship for students to learn and practice soft job skills and build their résumé.  Through a partnership with the Division of Vocational Rehab, DPS ACEConnect and the Sustainability Team, interns are employed at eight schools across the district to plant, grow, harvest and sell organic produce.  Each week interns learn new job and garden skills.  A job coach works with small teams of 3-5 students to practice accountability, communication, and professional behavior.  Produce is shared at local farmer’s markets and food banks.  Once students return to school in fall the produce can be harvested and sold to the cafeteria through the Garden to Cafeteria program.

Gardens are outdoor learning areas and living labs where students and interns can see the impact they can have on the world around them as they interact with nature.  

The garden at Maxwell will add new perennial fruits, vines and veggies.  Raspberries, goji’s, gooseberries and more are on the wish list.  Funds will also be used to purchase compost to improve the soil and retain moisture.  

The Denver Public Schools Sustainability Team, Denver Urban Gardens and Maxwell Elementary thank Westerra Credit Union for their generous support of our garden.

Featured image photo credit Benjamin Brunner and Unsplash