CRMS plant sale builds connections through agriculture
If You Go...
Who: Colorado Rocky Mountain School Organic Garden Learning Center
What: Plant sale
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, 1-3 p.m. on Sunday
Where: Colorado Rocky Mountain School greenhouse
How Much: Free admission
It’s a rare and special thing for high school students to be able to raise plants from seeds and see how those plants build a sense of community in their school and their town.
That’s an opportunity afforded to students at Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS), and they’ll share the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor this weekend with their annual plant sale.
Garden manager Sarah Legg said about 6,700 plants will be for sale, including a variety of tomatoes, perennials, herbs, vegetables, annual flowers and more, and all of them were started from seed by her work crews of 10 students.
“We’re a boarding school, so the structure is a little bit different,” Legg said. “The students sign up for work crew or sport in the afternoon. Work crews are anything from helping in the kitchen with food prep to helping out with random projects around campus, cleaning things up, or working in the garden and helping me.”
Legg and her crew starting preparing for this weekend’s plant sale in January.
“All of the plants for the plant sale have been started from seed,” she said. “We started planting seeds as early as January. As they got bigger, we would transplant them, put price tags in them, organize them, move them into the greenhouse, keep them maintained, that kind of thing.”
CRMS’s garden program has been around for almost 20 years, Legg said.
“The plant sale started off pretty small with just a little bit of a following, and every year it’s just gotten bigger and bigger,” she said. “We’ve offered more things, more people came, and we made more money.”
The money raised from the plant sale will benefit the garden program, and a few hundred dollars will also go to CRMS’s junior class, members of which will be volunteering as cashiers during the sale. They’re able to put that money toward almost anything they want, like graduation expenses or a group trip.
Legg said last year, her first year as garden manager, the school sold 90 or 95 percent of all its plants. In addition to raising money, the plant sale offers an educational experience for both the students and the community members who come as customers.
“I think it’s really neat for the students to see more of the marketing and community side of agriculture instead of just this isolated system that we usually have where what we grow ends up in the cafeteria,” Legg said. “It’s cool for them to engage with the public in that way.
“And it’s neat for the community to see because it really is a unique program. There’s a lot going on right now with CSAs [community supported agriculture] and farmers markets and other types of cool, small-scale agriculture, but this is pretty unique to have a school garden program. And so the community is always really intrigued by it, and it’s neat for them just to come here and see what’s happening and see the plants that these students have been working on.”
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