Urban agriculture project includes middle school, neighborhood center in Madison, Wisconsin
The Badger Rock Middle School currently has 100 sixth and seventh-graders but will expand to 150 students next year. Students learn in a state-of-the-art building on Madison’s south side. The Center for Resilient Cities hosted a grand opening celebration on Sept. 18, 2012.
“Every single plant on this site — trees, shrubs and ground cover — is edible,” she said. “To my knowledge it is the only 100 percent edible landscape in the state. There’s not one blade of turf grass.”
By Jim Massey
The Country Today
Jan 15, 2013
MADISON — Middle school students on Madison’s south side don’t have to go far to learn how to grow, process and prepare their own food.
The students are immersed in the topic of food at Madison’s newest charter school, Badger Rock Middle School. The school, which opened in a state-of-the art building last fall, has an urban agriculture focus in conjunction with Growing Power, a nonprofit urban agriculture organization headquartered in Milwaukee. Growing Power has its Madison office in the Resilience Research Center, which also houses the school and the Resilience Neighborhood Center.
The Resilience Research Center received permission from the city to plant fruit trees instead of shade trees, so about 50 apple, pear, peach, plum and cherry trees will adorn the property. Rather than ornamental shrubs, organizers planted blueberries, elderberries and lingonberries, and groundcover plants include strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb.
Stalker said the overall goal of the project is to teach people to grow and prepare their own food and to have that food bring the community together.
“We thought food would be the best possible way to bring people together from diverse backgrounds,” she said. “You can have ethnic meals, holiday celebrations and cooking classes. The school was the icing on the cake.”
Growing Power staff members teach the school curriculum on how to grow food, raise worms and breed fish. The food-preparation curriculum is taught by the Madison School District food-service staff and teachers.
Stalker said the school district would lose its federal hot lunch funding if students consumed only food grown on the property, so the food grown at the site is used only as a supplement to regular lunch menus.