Gardens are important in the College School District, home of Santa Ynez School. Each Thursday, Bennett Rock works with four classes teaching them how gardens connect students, staff, and families together through growing and eating food.
His work led Rock, who calls himself a "garden educator," and Principal Maurene Donner to apply for and receive a Tool Box Grant from Lowe's for $5,000.
The Garden Initiative Grant details two main projects. The first is to build a garden with eight raised beds and a living arbor with grape vines, flowers, and vegetables. The garden will provide grade level responsibilities and increase school and family relationships through building, growing, harvesting and cooking activities. The arbor will have benches and a desk to create a space where students can learn about the garden and food cycle as well as try new recipes for the produce they grow.
The second project is to have an Annual Harvest Festival that will be a celebration of food from seed to supper and will highlight food grown in the school's outdoor classroom.
Rock works for Explore Ecology in Santa Barbara, an environmental education and creative art discovery organization. In addition to College School District, he works with three schools in the Goleta Union School District.