How do you turn shreds of newspaper and water into a fundraiser? Well just ask the Garden Club at Veterans Elementary School. Last Wednesday the group set out to make paper pots by forming the water soaked newspaper shreds into cup molds. Under the direction of Susan Forgas, who spearheads the Garden Club and also serves as a Media Tech at the school and Denise Gelb, who is a Pasco County Master Gardener that partnered with the school’s Garden Club, the project was underway. Although the Garden Club is new to the school, the school garden is not.

Denise Gelb cuts newspaper into scraps.

Denise Gelb, Pasco County Master Gardener, cuts newspaper into strips in preparation for making paper pots.

Previously the school garden was in a low traffic area that didn’t foster much interaction or awareness of its existence. Ms. Forgas felt that a Garden Club would garner more interest from students, parents and teachers and it has! Since forming the Garden Club in October of last year, the group has been able to move the garden area to be more central and accessible- to an area just outside the cafeteria. The purpose of the paper pot fundraiser is twofold. It will help to purchase garden supplies that will go toward revitalizing the school garden and the activity will help each student to get their Junior Master Gardener certification.

A couple of students  in the process of making paper pots.

A couple of students in the process of making paper pots.

The paper pots will be sold for $5 at the school in the morning during the first week in February. For the $5, an individual will receive the paper pot, soil, seeds and a guaranteed plot in the new garden. After taking it home and giving the plant time to sprout, each paper pot should be brought back to be planted in the new garden. Having more hands in the garden is especially important as it concerns students and healthy eating. Students’ attitudes toward eating fruits and vegetables are likely to be more positive when they have a hands-on role in gardening.

Several finished paper pots drying on a bench.

Several finished paper pots drying on a bench.

To learn more about the Junior Master Gardener program visit their website.

Guest Blogger: Raneitra Grover, MPH, Team Nutrition Coordinator, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services