Innovative Germination at Pingree

Dear Pingree Families and Friends,

Anna McCoy and I are excited to share a program development that will begin to take root—literally—on our exit drive in the weeks ahead. As an extension of our Framework for the Future, and in support of strategic goals tied to people, pace and place, we will be constructing an extensive community garden. The Pingree Learning Garden will build community as well as connect students to each other and the natural world, allowing for the cultivation of deeper program-rooted relationships across the school and the North Shore, in the dirt and away from screens.

The garden will promote sustainability, academic inquiry, civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and social justice through experiential learning on campus, redefining the limits of a traditional classroom. Anna shared the following rendering and a phase one program outline at our Parent Coffee on Wednesday, and we are now working with students and faculty to determine launch steps. Uses for the garden next year will include "salad days" in the dining commons, a community flower garden for Pingree events, a produce garden for local organizations to fight food insecurity, and a pumpkin patch to host students from Lynn's Tracy Elementary School for a fall festival.

In-process curricular connections will include an H-block class entitled Food Justice & Garden Exploration; mission-related orientation experiences with incoming students; a transcendentalism unit in American Cultural Studies; and applications in our ceramics, landscape drawing, and painting classes. Research also shows that school gardens support student inquiry and offer restorative social-emotional benefits.

The long-term vision, which will require additional support, is to explore options like an adjacent greenhouse (imagine farm-to-table events), a state-of-the-art green classroom in a converted barn, the expansion of our garden beds, a test kitchen, and a staffed Director of Sustainability & Garden Education. An extra special community shout-out to Amy and Rob Job for generously supporting this exciting initiative!

We look forward to rolling up our sleeves together soon!