Since the beginning of the school year, the Green Club has organized three Farm Stands, a wholesale event where faculty, staff, and the community can buy fresh fruits and vegetables that were grown at TMA’s on-site garden. The Green Club is one of the oldest clubs at TMA, established in 2007, and is advised by Ms. Lee, a Social Studies teacher with a passion for all-things-green. She works alongside the Green Club Coordinator to introduce students to the dynamics of maintaining a healthy garden.
At the heart of TMA’s Green Club, the garden serves two purposes:
- To teach students strategies for well-being through healthy food choices, nutritional literacy, and physical education
- To provide a location for garden-based lessons that support academic achievement
“The Green Club gives people a chance to see how eating healthy looks,” said 12th-grader George Marshall, who is a Green Club veteran. Serving on the club for the past four years, Marshall often encourages his mother to make better cooking choices. “I tell my mom to use fresh fruits and vegetables instead of factory foods. She hasn’t been able to attend a Farm Stand yet, but I always take produce home so that she will have better and healthier options to cook with,” said Marshall.
Students plant and harvest year-round with hopes to use the garden as a longstanding resource to combat unhealthy eating choices in the Anacostia area.
The Green Club gives Marshall and the community access to fresh crops during every season. Taking a tour of the TMA garden would take a ‘tourist’ through weeds that uncover sun gold cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, bell peppers, swiss chard, kale, okra, beets, chives, thyme, sage and other herbs, string beans, butternut squash, tomatoes, carrots, sorrel, and even flowers to create bouquets.
Next month, the club and a few volunteers will work together to ‘winterize’ the garden and get it ready for the colder months so that all of the plants, fruits and veggies will be able to survive throughout the winter. Marshall is looking forward to the all-hands-on-deck process that includes planting, building hoop houses, pruning, and mulching. “The Green Club doesn’t just encourage students to eat healthier, but it’s also an opportunity for all students to pitch in and be involved in maintaining the garden, which takes a lot of work and commitment,” said Marshall.
The Green Club also leads cooking demonstrations that showcase their favorite healthy meals. Marshall and the Green Club have made a number of dishes including roasted peppers, butternut squash soup (Marshall’s all-time favorite), and fruit pies. Homemade pasta sauce is next on the menu as the students make use of the remaining roma tomatoes.