“Legacy” is a word we see thrown around a lot here at Pine View. We see it in speeches, letters of recommendation, and we even hear it in the daily announcements, but what does it really mean? As world renowned playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda once put it, “a legacy is planting seeds in a garden you never get to see,” and that is exactly what happened on Friday, May 27 in Pine View’s newly renovated food garden.
As a charming Disney song plays in the background, huge bubbles soar through the air, delicately blown by children running all throughout the garden. All hands are on deck, both gloved and ungloved, as kids of all ages complete tasks like dumping out soil, ripping up weeds, and occasionally secretly picking a baby tomato and popping it in their mouths. This is Garden Day.
Amidst the organized chaos stands Lesley Sachs, a Pine View Parent and spear-header of the garden renovation project. Sachs became involved in the project because of her desire to teach students about accessible foods and nutrition and, most importantly, to nurture the curiosity of students around her.
“This is the culmination of a lot of work this year. We obviously had a long break with the garden because of COVID. My philosophy is that this is a student powered garden and so students are there to do work almost every day all school year long. So, this is, what I feel like, the reflection of the hard work and effort that’s been put in this year.” Sachs said in an interview the day before the event.
One of the main events happening in the garden was the planting of the Food Forest, a new section of the garden focused on longer-term crops. Sachs hopes that the longevity of the Food Forest will prevent the Garden from being forgotten about like before.
“The school has been incredibly supportive. We were able to get a grant from Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, which is funding this project, and the whole point for us is permanence. By planting [the forest], we’re really putting the mark that we are here to stay. So, I feel optimistic that this is going to be a good long-term project unlike our annual beds, which is what everybody’s familiar with, they get replaced year after year, and the food forest is here to stay,“ Sachs said.
Amongst the crowded garden there were children of all ages, all eager to share their positive opinions on the events they were participating in.
After pausing his process of spreading out some soil, Cameron Rudolph, a sixth-grade student at Pine View, offered some youthful insight on the processes happening in the garden, “I feel like it’s just a fun opportunity to see where our food comes from, so it’s cool to get a firsthand experience of that… It’s nice seeing all this green. It has a nice effect on everyone, it shows them how nice and cool nature is. It opens people’s minds to the Earth and the beautiful nature around us; I think that’s pretty cool,” Rudolph said.
Rudolph’s sixth grade Earth-Space science teacher David Yotsuda also attested to the learning opportunities that the garden provides.
“This is a unique way of getting students really involved and hopefully teaching them that they have to take care of Mother Earth… A lot of students don’t really realize where their food comes from, so this is a good visual as well as a good learning experience,” Yotsuda said.
Yotsuda has always had an incredibly big role to play in the process of sustainability at Pine View, most notably known for his sponsorship of the G3 club and his role in recycling on campus.
But younger Pine View student generations weren’t the only ones frequenting the garden. Recent graduates Laura Gayre and Connor Lafo were also present in the garden. The two were actually the founders of the Garden Club, sponsored by Pine View teacher Roma Jagdish, and played huge parts in the renovation process along with fellow Class of 2022 graduate Sahil Agarwal.
“We honestly didn’t really know much what we were doing. We were kind of just rolling with the punches, you know, but it ends up just being one of the coolest things on campus,” Gayre said when asked about the developmental process of the club.
It is clear that the new and improved Pine View Garden is made to last, and isn’t going anywhere this time.
“I mean, I hope that kids really enjoy this, maybe they’ll go home and tell their mom they want to start a garden. Who knows, maybe next year during their lunch they might come to the garden and have a hoot… Maybe if they’re in eighth grade, next year they’ll want to be in Gardening Club. We are just hoping that we carry on the legacy and inspire a new generation to take our place,” Lafo said.
Contributing Author: Sanya Patel