Sherrard students dig chance to go green to help local food banks
Students at Sherrard High School have embarked on a program to offer fresh food to locals who otherwise might not have the opportunity to enjoy it.
An official Sherrard Facebook post shows students harvesting vegetables from a plot on the northwest end of the campus. Three local food pantries were given 36 pounds of produce, officials said.
“We’re always looking for ways to give back to the community,” Bill Hammes, a teacher involved with the program, told the Rock Island Today, adding that students were enthusiastic about a chance to donate food to the local charity efforts.
The program is in its first year but got off to a good start, Hammes said.
“We wanted to get it going,” Hammes said, describing how 16 students volunteered to collect items like tomatoes, peppers, onions and sweet corn.
The produce project was done in one of the smallest of several green spaces on the high school campus, Hammes said, but next year it might be expanded into other areas of the property.
The largest agriculture site on campus is 18 acres and had been cultivated for some years, but it more recently is beginning to be used as a learning tool for students, he said.
Hammes explained that although this is his first year at Sherrard, it’s clear that the green fields around the campus offer opportunities for hands-on learning.
Hammes said some classes visit the site to do annual planting, and this year a “cover crop tour” used the space to showcase the positives of some agricultural strategies involving cover crops, which can prevent erosion. Hammes said the school partnered with the local soil and water commission.
“It gives us a way to use it as a teaching tool,” Hammes said. “I look for real-world opportunities for kids to learn.”