Growing Up

01 May 2010

San Francisco’s first vertical school garden was unveiled last month with the help of the local Slow Food convivium. The soil-less vertical garden at Sanchez Elementary School is mounted on a chain-link fence, taking up no playground space. Students will monitor the garden’s energy use, water nutrient levels, and produce outputs over the course of the spring. Designed around a concept of sustainability, the garden uses aquaponic technology and is powered by renewable energy, with solar panels and a wind turbine powering the circulation of nutrient-enhanced water.

This vertical garden joins Sanchez’s existing traditional garden, which teachers have been integrating into their classes for the past several years. The garden, originally cared for by a retired teacher, gained the support of Slow Food San Francisco and developed over time, with recent funding allowing the addition of a garden manager who comes in biweekly to help the students plant, maintain, and harvest.

The initiative was recently recognized by the city of San Francisco who awarded the school with their highest commendation for “working and instituting the first vertical garden in a public school”. The convivium is hoping that Sanchez will become a model and open the door for other urban schools to utilize unused vertical space as green learning environments, particularly on campuses where space is an issue.

Read more on the Slow Food USA blog

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