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Westside charter school seeks community support through April 18 for farm-project grant

       Mountain Song Community School is in the running to win a $20,000 grant for its continuing on-site farm project, but needs a show of public support to be selected.
       The state-chartered K-7 school is in its third year at the old Whittier school building, 2904 W. Kiowa St.
       The grant is being sought from Seeds of Change, a national company that specializes in organic seeds and supports organic growing efforts by others. But
Mountain Song Community School agricultural arts director Elise Bowan (in hat) works with students on a project in the school's farm.
Photo by Kirsten Young. Used with permission
the process is competitive. Supporters of Mountain Song can vote daily online through April 18.
       “With the $20,000 grant, aside from fulfilling a wishlist of tools, soil and building an outdoor kitchen with cob oven, the goal is to offer an innovative 'horticultural therapy' program to complement the school's special education model, further assisting students that need extra support,” explained Elise Bowan, the school's agricultural arts director, in an e-mailed press release. “The grant would help fund professional development for two staff members to take the training and become certified horticultural therapists. This would also make the school a hub for other teachers and therapists to learn techniques and approaches that could benefit their own practices working with children, veterans and homeless populations.”
       According to Bowan, all the Mountain Song students are involved in the school's “farm to fork education, learning how to propagate plants from seed, care for edible crops, perennials, and flowers, and use the produce they've grown to cook healthy meals. They also take care of nine chickens and three rabbits daily. This practical work is a core component of the school's charter and unique Waldorf- inspired approach.“
       She continued that “this year, with the addition of a geodesic growing dome, students have been involved in building the greenhouse interior from the foundation. They built stone beds, filled them with topsoil, amended the soil and are growing a variety of food inside, including more than 100 seed starts for the May 7 plant sale and to use outside in the garden beds.
       “Families at the school, along with the staff, will volunteer throughout the summer to care for the garden and animals, and there will be summer opportunities for children as well. Additionally, Mountain Song has recently committed to donating a portion of this year's harvest to Westside CARES.”
       For more information, e-mail Bowan at ebowan@mountainsongschool.com or call the school at 203-6364.
       The web address to vote is seedsofchangegrant.com/GalleryDetail.aspx?id=2043.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 4/11/16; Schools: Other than District 11)

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