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Stone Edge Farm Leads with Large Donation to Sonoma Middle School Gardens

09/17/10 • Posted by SVUSD in Deputy Superintendent, Press Releases | Comments (0)

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Stone Edge Farm of Sonoma yesterday presented the Sonoma Valley Unified School District with a substantial donation to develop educational vegetable gardens, orchards and vineyards at Sonoma Valley’s two middle schools, Altimira and Adele Harrison.

Stone Edge Farm executive John McReynolds gave the check to SVUSD Superintendent Louann Carlomagno in a shovel-heavy ceremony in the growing Altimira garden behind the school.

Helping to accept the check were Deputy Superintendent Justin Frese, Altimira principal Will Deeths, Adele Harrison principal Karla Conroy, Altimira science teacher and garden coordinator Dutch Van Herwynen, and SVUSD School Garden Project Coordinator Kathleen Hill.

Stone Edge’s gift will go toward building substantial greenhouses, tool sheds, fruit tree orchards, small educational vineyards, curriculum, and installation of professional stoves in the two middle schools’ kitchens.

SVUSD is working in conjunction with the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation to enhance or develop school gardens and orchards at all 12 Sonoma Valley public schools.

Among our goals are those of helping students learn where food comes from, how to grow it and how to cook it, in addition to the value of good, clean food they may not even recognize in its natural form (e.g. Jamie Oliver’s television show in which kids in south couldn’t identify a whole potato.) We want each and every student to have a positive and exciting experience while learning these values, healthy living and self-sufficiency through growing vegetables and fruits.

Food raised by the school students will go into school lunches and snacks first. What is left over will be sold at school farmers markets by students to students, and thereafter supplied to Sonoma Valley restaurants, many of which have committed to the program.

Other substantial community donations have come from:

  • Erik and Tony Garcia of Sonoma Materials, which has donated 300 cubic yards of organic soil and cement blocks to build planter boxes in all 12 of Sonoma’s public schools.
  • Outdora has donated 11 composters.
  • Wedekind’s Garden Center has a fundraiser every Thursday evening with free wine donated by wineries, appetizers cooked at the nursery and music. So far they have raised more than $1,500 at 10 percent per purchase and have collected three baskets of tools purchased by customers for the School Garden Project.
  • Sonoma Mission Gardens has offered one mixed flat of vegetables plants for each of 12 schools for this fall, as well as packages of seed packets for each season at each school.
  • Chris and Mike Benziger will plow the school district’s four-acre “production garden” this fall, planting winter vegetable seeds and cover crops to enrich the soil for planting next spring.
  • Patty Westerbeke has offered one acre of her land for the School Garden Project.
  • Friedman’s has donated a palate of plastic pots.
  • Mission Olive Preservation (MOPREP) has offered olive trees for each school and instruction on the importance of historic olive trees.
  • Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo Beans has offered beans and talks on the importance and value of indigenous beans, many of which are from Mexico.
  • Sonoma Master Gardeners have pledged to assist with instruction in the gardens.
  • Christine Mueller of Women for WineSense has offered to build a website for the School Garden Project.


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Louann Carlomagno

Louann Carlomagno is Superintendent of the SVUSD. This blog allows her to communicate informally on topics of interest to the community.

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