AMS garden club

Posted on 02/26/2019
AMS Garden Club

For the past three years, the Garden Club at the Ahkwesahsne Mohawk School (AMS), which is part of the Ahkwesahsne Mohawk Board of Education (AMBE), has been a popular place for students that are interested in learning important life skills, such as planting and growing gardens, cooking, and canning. Darry White started bringing healthy green drinks to the community of Akwesasne, and after becoming head chef for the AMS school, decided to bring healthy greens to the school itself through the 24 45 Grow Indoor Racking System.

“AMBE gave me the opportunity to do this because of all the processed foods in the school system and was able to give funding to purchase three grow racks. The Garden Club was started shortly after. Some kids didn’t know that French fries came from potatoes, or how smoothies were made. I believe it is important to take a step back from technology and teach these life skills.”

Once a week, students get the chance to grow their own foods, which include celery, basil, cilantro, microgreens, encore lettuce mix, pea shoots, buckwheat, and wheatgrass. The Garden Club also enjoys making smoothies and fresh snacks from their yields. “Home starts at the dinner table, and we try to bring that important life lesson to the students each week,” stated White.

The 24 45 Grow Racking System is an FDA approved organic growing system, and each rack yields up to an acre. AMS is the second school in the North Country to use this technology, and White has gained Ministry Recognition for his efforts in bringing healthy foods to the students and community of Akwesasne.

“Because of the school, I realized how important the green drinks are, so I kept them up. I received great feedback throughout the community, and CT’s brought it to my attention that kids were starting to buy the green drinks instead of candy; and that says a lot. So, when those drinks are off the shelves, I hear about it,” joked White. “My dream is to bring the racking system to all Akwesasne schools, the community, and then other First Nations. Each rack gets 2-3 yields out of one harvest, lasting about 2-3 weeks after it’s cut; then we start the next cycle. When one rack is done, another is coming in, so we never go without.”

White presented to the Smart Akwesasne team in January, and strongly believes this is the way to go in efforts to make Akwesasne a healthier community, and to combat diabetes and childhood obesity.

Great job to Mr. White and all the students that participate in the Garden Club. Keep up the great work!

(Photo and article courtesy of MCA Communications Unit)