Cassie Thiem, from
Al Raby High School for the Community and Environment
We plan on engaging the window farm with our:
Science Classes: Environmental Science and Biology
Art Class, Autism Class, 9th Grade Hunger Awareness Unit
Culinary Arts club and Environmental Justice Club
With our GREEN Community Schools Program, we have a full-time resource coordinator working with each of the school’s teachers on integrating environmental literacy and sustainability education into each subject’s curriculum. Through GREEN Community Schools we host a variety of eco-projects ranging from vermicomposting, reuse art, biodiesel program, native plant gardens and urban agriculture and the window farm would be an integrated part of our overall vision for Al Raby as a green school.
Our Environmental Justice Club has been learned about vertical farming in an effort to extend our limited Chicago growing season further into the school year so we can include our garden work and food development within our classroom curriculum. On a field trip to Garfield Park Conservatory, students saw a window farm created by the University of Illinois Extension program and began seeking how to create a unit for Raby.
Here are the areas students from our Environmental Justice Club feel that window farm could be part of Raby’s various classrooms:
+ Building, care and maintenance would be handled by our Environmental Justice Club.
+ Herbs could be used in both our Culinary Arts after-school offering and in our Autism program.
+ Plant seeds and leaves could be used in our art classroom for nature inspired art projects
+ Used as a model and tool in both our Environmental Science and Biology Classes
+ Student Science Fair opportunity to compare plant growth and health of window farm vs. conventional growing
Further each year a Hunger Awareness Unit is integrated across the entire 9th grade curriculum. A large part of this unit is educating students on food deserts in all subjects, including the food desert in our school’s own ward and surrounding neighborhood. We hope to utilize the window farm to engage students in growing food indoors to help them realize that the ability to grow healthy food is not limited to the amount of land you have.
We think the window farm would benefit our student’s learning by giving a hands-on classroom tool that serves a variety of subjects, extends our growing season and empowers our students to understand their capacity to grow food in any space. It provides an accessible tool for many classrooms both in and beyond the school day serving both academic and social objectives. During the school day it would be integrated into our science lessons and hunger awareness project, beyond the school day in culinary arts and environmental justice club and in our enrichment classrooms including Art and Autism program.
Assessments would primarily include written reflections and group discussions on incorporating the window farm into our overall vision for our green school. In our Hunger Awareness Curriculum students would analyze how the model of window farms could reduce food deserts in our community.