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Nathan Hale High School is the only Seattle school with a commercial-size greenhouse and half-acre school garden, known as the Nathan Hale Urban Farm. The farm connects our students with the earth, the food they eat, and the larger community. It gives students direct experience and insight into related careers, including agricultural research, farming, public service, greenhouse/nursery management, business and entrepreneurship, landscape design, and environmental science.
Each May, our horticulture students hold a community spring plant sale, offering the public dozens of varieties of vegetables, herbs, perennial flowers and plants, hanging flower baskets and more. All of the plants are started either from seeds or cuttings and tenderly raised by the students during the fall and winter terms as they learn about plant genetics, taxonomy, morphology, propagation, and care.
The students advertise and manage the sale, inventory the plants, answer questions for our customers, and operate the check out.
Throughout the year, we hold work parties with the students and the community to implement aspects of our site plans. In summer, we have weekly work parties. Projects might include harvesting, building a temporary storage space or shade house, or propagating perennials for the spring sale.
Volunteers from various community programs help out on holidays, such as the MLK , Jr. day of service, or Earth Day. Ask to be put on our mailing list and we will notify you of these opportunities to support our students' development!
STUDENT AND COMMUNITY WORK PARTIES
Permaculture articulates and applies holistic solutions applicable in rural and urban contexts. This multidisciplinary toolbox includes agriculture, water harvesting and hydrology, energy, natural building, forestry, waste management, animal systems, aquaculture, appropriate technology, economics and community development.
We aim to integrate as many of these principles and practices into the landscape and curriculum as is feasible at this scale and educational level, while also conveying basic knowledge and practices of horticulture.
PERMACULTURE ON THE FARM AND IN THE CURRICULUM
We are working with the students to develop the site to be manageable, self-sustaining and capable of producing healthy plants useful as edibles, herbs, and pollinators, and to contribute to the students' understanding of the inter-connectedness of all elements of the environment. We also work with the students to incorporate sound business practices into their plant sales; to recognize and manage invasive and exotic species; to identify and appreciate native plants; and to understand the necessity of plant/crop rotation and building and maintaining healthy soils.
Components of our site plan include ADA raised beds, an outdoor teaching/gathering space, a rain water collection and distribution system, hugelkultur beds, tool storage, and composting systems. Click here for a slide show that illustrates the development of our site and the installation of our Rainwater Harvesting System.
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