Beach Students Ready to Grow


Beach Elementary School students are on their way to growing some of their own vegetables right on campus thanks to the Estero Island Garden Club, the Dairy Council of Florida and a number of eager volunteers.

Beach Elementary School
Cindy Richardson, Bobbi Kemp & Elaine Whistler met with Miss Potter to discuss ideas for raised gardens.

At the beginning of the school year, Coach Heather Ludovico, PE and Music teacher, announced that the school had been awarded a grant of nearly $4,000 from the Dairy Council of Florida Farm to School program to develop a school garden to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.

One down, two to go…

When approached by Ludovico, the Estero Island Garden Club was happy to help and jumped in with both feet as Cindy Richardson and Bobbi Kemp volunteered to help coordinate the project. They met with Adrienne Potter Diaz, well-known local Master Gardener and wizard of small space vegetable gardening, and sought her suggestions for the school project. Over several months, they met with Coach to design and order materials for three raised gardens. Once all the materials were in place, construction took place this week.

Beach Elementary School
Members of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District lend a helping hand.

The Beach Community Spirit was on display Tuesday as firefighters, friends, neighbors and students themselves created the new gardening space. Third grade students from Mrs. Alicia Catlett’s class helped fill the gardens with soil.

Principal Jeff Dobbins, Cindy Richardson, Coach Heather Ludovico and Bobbi Kemp meet to plan the raised gardens.
Estero Island Garden Club, the Dairy Council of Florida
Students help fill the raised garden beds with rich soil. Photos provided by Estero Island Garden Club.

The first student gardeners at Beach Elementary School will be Grade 3, 4 & 5 students who will plant, care for and harvest their vegetables as they learn about growing food in Southwest Florida.



Missy Layfield