On December 19, Acres U.S.A. staff members Cameron Ehrlich and Hannah Fields sat on the panel of judges for the Fred Tjardes School of Innovation’s middle school presentations.  The 7th and 8th graders had been tasked with creating designs for the school’s new bed in the Acres U.S.A. community garden. Each student had to meet several requirements, including determining the exact square footage of their design, assessing it for accessibility, and providing a detailed list of materials and a budget.

Student giving a presentation for the Acres USA community garden plot

Closeup of one student's garden plot designOver 20 students presented, with projects ranging from a very simple rectangle to a hoop house to five individual boxes that spelled out the school’s acronym. Some students even went so far as to create 3D printed models of their designs for the judges and their peers to see.

3D printed community plot designIn the end, several designs stood out above the rest. One young lady came up with the idea of using recycled pallets to act as both sun protection and for cultivating climbing plants, as well finding most of her suggested materials from local sources, which definitely earned her some points with the judges. Another student presented a design utilizing the existing sprinkler system for irrigation, explaining that it would help cut back on water waste by taking advantage of an established resource. A third found a way to use bricks and natural materials to create a border and lining for his box, as opposed to plastics and rubbers.

Student gives a presentation for community garden plotOverall, the presentations and designs were very well thought out and creative. After the final tally, the class will work together to take elements from the top designs and collaborate to create their official design. They expect to have final blueprints and a budget done by early spring in 2019, and hope to break ground as soon as possible.

Keep an eye on this space, and the Acres U.S.A. Facebook page, to see continuing updates and developments of the community garden project!

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