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School Bus Farm Visits Point Loma Students

Dana Middle School sixth graders pointed to the leaves growing in a planter box where several rows of school bus seats used to be. One recognized the snap peas, and another was stumped by the Swiss Chard.

Dana Middle School Teacher Scott Schwerdtfeger corrals students waiting to tour the bus San Diego Unified is hoping to turning to a full-fledged mobile farm, Oct. 13, 2011.
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Above: Dana Middle School Teacher Scott Schwerdtfeger corrals students waiting to tour the bus San Diego Unified is hoping to turning to a full-fledged mobile farm, Oct. 13, 2011.

If San Diego Unified's food services staff can raise the money, the bus will host more than just a few planters, though.

“We’d love to have hanging vines, fruit trees. The sky’s the limit. We’re definitely going to plan as a team how to do that and what physically actually can be in a bus. Everything from how much weight can it hold to what would be more exciting for students,” said Vanessa Zajfen, the district’s farm to school food specialist.

Zajfen came up with the idea of turning an old school bus into a mobile farm after seeing a pickup truck transformed into a mobile planting bed by Wicked Delicate Film Production, the New York City-based makers of the movie "King Corn."

Parker Templin was one of the first students to take a tour of the bus. He's already excited about what it could become.

“It’s smart because not everyone can just make a garden in their backyard," he said. "I mean, they have to have a ton of just plain-out money to be able to build it and keep taking care of it. Where this – it’s just they visit you and you learn a little about farming."

Knowing where our food comes from is an important part of learning healthy habits, according to Zajfen. She said a mobile farm would let the district reach more kids with those lessons.

The district has already gotten the support of several local farms and corporations, and is hoping to find more donors to get the program off the ground next year.

Comments

Avatar for user 'mstar'

mstar | October 14, 2011 at 7:27 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Wow! In tough times lets use an $80,000 school bus as planter. I bet I know where she can get some shredded personnel papers and manure. Please! How about supporting a traveling art bus? Or hey, here's a really useful one-How about we have a bus where the district Celdt testers could test instead of showing up and expecting room to do a weeks worth of testing? Or, how about a classroom? I know we could sure use some space. Sell it and make a profit. Too bad we're too poor to fill those buses with students to get them to school, Balboa Park Program, Old Town Program, Camp Palomar, or Camp Anytown. I know several schools that could really use and appreciate an onsite school bus. Hey, support a local school that has a garden?!
Better yet, figure out a way to get those disgusting Pepperoni Pizza Pockets off the school menu.

( | suggest removal )