Paul Smith School garden will teach Franklin kids where food they eat comes from

FRANKLIN — A few children said "eew" when they saw bugs, swatted at a few black flies, and crinkled their little noses at the smell of the fertilizer, but a sunny day playing outside in the dirt is always welcome, especially when the goal is the learn to grow vegetables and fruits.
As part of a three-phase project spearheaded by Paul Smith School teacher LeAnne Fifield, all of the students at the elementary school will get a chance to plant their own little piece of a vegetable and flower garden.
"Everybody likes eating strawberries," said teacher Leann Miller. "Today they're going to learn how to plant them."
Strawberries are just a few of the plants that went into the ground yesterday. Into six individual raised box-garden beds and three separate ground-level beds, students planted blueberries bushes, plum and cherry trees, and a variety of vegetables including beans and peas.
Many of the plants were grown from seeds inside the class room with the assistance of teachers and grow lamps. Miller said the gardening projects will be incorporated into the overall science curriculum at the Paul Smith School.
Master Gardner Terri Paige of the UNH Cooperative Extension Program and Fifield began the program last year when they helped the students build Phase I — a butterfly garden near the main entrance.
The remaining gardens are on the other side of the main entrance and will be primarily for food, including some that will go to a local food pantry.
Each class room will have a slot in a maintenance schedule where by the students will be responsible, with their teachers, for watering, weeding and ultimately — and likely at the beginning next school year — harvesting the seeds they have sown.

CAPTION: (Paul Smith School) As kindergarten students looks on, UNH Cooperative Extension Master Gardner Terri Paige teaches them how to dig a hole and plant a bean plant. Each child got to plant his or her own plant yesterday at Paul Smith School in Franklin. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)