School partnerships grow the work of Southeast Area Farmers’ market

june 031

The Gerald R Ford Middle School market site became a fun community gathering place.

The Our Kitchen Table (OKT) farmers’ market management team truly appreciates the partnership that has developed with two Grand Rapids Public Schools, Gerald R Ford Middle School and Martin Luther King Leadership Academy.

GR Ford has not only served as a site for the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market for the past two years, it has also served as an OKT food garden demonstration site. You can see the raised beds just south of the school building. In addition, OKT’s Yvonne Woodard has led food gardening classes with students at the school.

On Friday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., Ms. Woodard facilitates a healthy community get together featuring nutritious foods, dance exercise and pick-up basketball. All community members are invited to join this free activity that takes place during the school year (holiday weeks excluded).

Last year, OKT and students from Mr. Andrew Ippel’s class planted a rooftop food garden in abandoned raised garden beds at Martin Luther King school. “Students in my classroom learn so well through real-world experiences! Typing meaningless sentences isn’t the same as formulating real ideas about the vegetables they hope to see growing in their very own garden,” said Mr. Ippel. “Students are learning how to work, the value of getting their hands a little dirty now and then. They have a chance to be recognized by adults and peers in their school as valuable, contributing members in the MLK community.”

Next market season, OKT hopes to host a monthly satellite farmers’ market at MLK.