Thanks to the contributions of many members of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District school community, a beautiful garden has taken root at the Brookside Educational Center. The garden provides healthy fruits and vegetables for the district’s Community Cupboard, allowing families to select produce in addition to shelf-stable items.
The garden was planted in 2017 thanks to the generous donation of a greenhouse by the Community Parent Center and through the hard work of students from the Meadowbrook Alternative Center. For the past several years, the garden has consisted of two raised planting beds. “This past summer, however, various members of our school community rallied to expand the garden,” said Karin McMahon, a physical education teacher within the district who is instrumental in the Community Cupboard.
Mepham alumna Olivia Laroccia worked tirelessly to improve the garden and plant new varieties of produce. Chris Field, an Eagle Scout from John F. Kennedy High School, built gardening tables and new raised planters for the area, while Tyler Berke, an Eagle Scout from Calhoun High School, introduced the method of hydroponic gardening. “Through the use of hydroponic gardening, we hope to keep our garden in bloom throughout the winter months,” McMahon said.
To date, the garden has yielded squash, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, cantaloupe, red peppers and various herbs, among other produce.
“The garden has been a great collaboration for our school community, and I’m pleased that it directly benefits many families in our area,” said McMahon. “We thank Olivia, Chris, and Tyler for their recent contributions, as well as students from the district’s Extended Year Program and our buildings and ground staff, who helped to maintain the garden during the summer months.”
1: Mepham alumna Olivia Laroccia proudly displayed a portion of the Cupboard Garden that she helped to improve.
2 & 3: The Cupboard Garden has provided fresher options for the Community Cupboard, including melon, basil, kale and green beans.
4: The district’s Cupboard Garden is thriving, thanks to the efforts of many within the greater school community.
Photos courtesy of Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District