Hoffman’s new community garden continues to flourish


(Left to right): Paige Schneider, Alex Aragon, Sean Kelley, and Shreyank Sandu

Paige Schneider, Staff Writer

At the tail end of last school year, the science club at Hoffman began a school garden that turned into a flourishing ecosystem. It was a small glimpse of what a few kids could do with hard work, determination, and a drive to do good for their school, their community, and the environment. 

“Learning about where food comes from, biologically how it’s grown, and how to sustain its life by taking care of it the right way has already allowed us to produce hundreds of pounds of food for the Hawk’s Nest, the school’s food pantry,” said Kevin Beers, one of the sponsors of science club. 

However, that flourishing ecosystem didn’t pop out of nowhere. The idea to produce that food actually started years ago with Todd Meador, another sponsor of the club.

“There’s always been hope to have a garden on school property, but it’s not always easy to get approval. The plans to start the garden actually go back about seven or eight years to when Mr. Schumacher and Mr. Harlan were Principal and Vice Principal,” said Meador. “Then, when Mr. Alther and Mr. Mocon stepped in, we were lucky enough to hear that they were also receptive, especially throughout the pandemic.” 

Beers and Meador plan to expand the garden in the future and what their students hope to accomplish in years to come. 

“Looking forward, we also hope to get the science, foods, art, and special education classes involved in the process. There’s a lot of opportunity for the whole school to get involved educationally in it,” said Beers. 

“We want to continue giving fresh produce to Hoffman families. Families with different ethnicities and backgrounds want different fruits and vegetables. Recently, I talked to Mr. Acosta about having a bed with an assortment of peppers appropriate for a variety of Hispanic foods,” said Meador. 

Last spring, the club started by building two garden beds and were able to sustain them throughout the summer and fall. Those two beds then turned into five after they built three more in November to be used for planting this spring.  

“It started with a purpose and then a vision of the future. What we would like is twelve beds because the amount of food we could produce for the community would be astronomical,” said Beers. 

(Left to right): Sean Kelley, Paige Schneider, and Alex Aragon

To get a jump start on their vision of the future, the science club has been coming up with innovative ways to plant through the below zero temperatures and February snow. Currently, they are utilizing the greenhouse in the middle hallway upstairs to start seeds for hydroponics. This gives them the freedom to continue producing vegetables year-round and continue to provide for their community.   

“This is a community. The idea is about community. No one wins unless everyone wins. The basic need of food is always prevalent, and we hope to not only provide for the community, but also get them involved in the process,” said Beers. 

“As we celebrate the diversity of our student body, we need to have produce that reflects that diversity,” said Meador.