JubileeScape is committed to sharing our passion for the outdoors with children, and school gardens in Mobile and Fairhope have become signature projects.

JubileeScape is committed to sharing our passion for the outdoors with children, and school gardens in Mobile and Fairhope have become signature projects.

Posted on: August 20th, 2019

Most Pure Heart of Mary has struggled with enrollment and community support as an urban Catholic School in downtown Mobile. A neglected parking lot was little more than an eyesore when Sister Joanne Cozzi of the Daughters of Charity reached out with the dream of a space children could enjoy outdoors.

The JubileeScape team got to work. We installed sod, trees and wrought iron benches to create a prayer garden and gathering space. A handsome fence was added to secure the area and create a sense of place. Next, we built raised vegetable beds and led 4th and 5th graders in the wonder of planting and watching their garden grow. Lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, squash and more were planted along with bright colorful zinnias and sunflowers. The children learned about soil chemistry and PH balance, spacing, fertilizer, proper watering and weed control. Most of all – their eyes grew along with their crop for many who had never seen fresh produce anywhere but a grocery bin.

The spring harvest was a true celebration, with veggies donated to a local homeless program.

“We wanted to do something the children could be involved in and could learn from the experience. It gave the children a chance to know that they are helping others. That’s so much of our philosophy here, and JubileeScape gave us a way to make that goal come true.”

Sr. Joanne Cozzi – Daughters of Charity/ Most Pure Heart of Mary School – Mobile, AL

Across the bay in Fairhope, JubileeScape returned this spring to a program we helped launch in 2011.

The Fairhope Intermediate School “Pirate Patch” garden began as a giant hole, left behind with the school playground was moved to Fairhope’s then-new Elementary School. Parents and teachers dreamed of a garden, and JubileeScape stepped in with the most critical need: dirt! Nearly ten truckloads of soil were added before our ImpressionMakers began testing soil quality, building raised beds and working with parent volunteers to create a school-wide garden program.

Teachers and Master Gardeners Linda Smith and Margaret Dumas took it from there, as the first crops of lettuce, carrots and cauliflower were featured in the school cafeteria salad bar and even sold by students in car line.

The Pirate Patch has thrived over the years since, adding a dedicated after-school garden club of 6th graders tending weeds and watering. Seasonal “market days” harvest what’s growing for pre-order sale to parents.

When teachers began dreaming again, we returned this spring to help build a Hugelkultur (hoo-gul-culture) bed. The German technique uses decaying wood debris, compostable plant materials and in our case hay in a no-dig raised bed that holds moisture and maximizes fertility in small space. Our experiment worked beautifully! Beans and more are thriving along with much more in this wonderful school endeavor.

“When school funds collapsed in 2008 and budgets for art and music were lost, we knew we needed community support to add enrichment. JubileeScape offered something beyond our dreams, with a garden program that’s not just thrived but become a hallmark of the entire school over the past 8 years. Our students are learning plant math and science along with the joy of seeing something well-tended flourish to life. The garden gets some of these children outdoors or exposed to fresh food for the very first time. I’m convinced we’re growing not just crops but a life-long love of gardening.”

Linda Smith/ FIS Teacher and Baldwin County Master Gardener