Grant denied but still moving forward on rooftop garden

Kelly Kramer, staff reporter

Having a rooftop garden at RB is an idea that was started at the end of the last school year, and action on creating has been started. It would be beneficial to RB overall; it could get students to actually interact with a garden outside of a classroom and work in a green space. Students and staff could actually eat what will be grown, and it could also cut energy costs and make RB a greener school.

The rooftop garden, spearheaded by Kathleen Harsy, was on its way to creation and hopefully success, but the first step was to get a grant to get the project moving.

The Green Thumb Challenge, the grant from the Green Education Foundation, was not obtained by RB. The organization that was applied to could only give out one grant, and it went to a juvenile correction center in a desert region in Oklahoma. They intend to grow vegetables and serve food from their garden to homeless people.

“The organization was looking to give the grant to something that was already established. But just because we didn’t get [the grant], doesn’t mean the garden idea is over. I’m happy for them; if we were going to lose the grant, I’m glad it was to them,” said Harsy.

So far, a grant application has been sent to Captain Planet Foundation and they are waiting for a response. They have also applied to Illinois Parks for a state grant.

Meanwhile, Harsy and others have been making connections with Quest, the food service program used at RB. Quest has agreed to serve the vegetables grown in the garden once it starts up. They are even willing to provide seeds to plant.

Pam Bylsma [principal] is really excited about this, and has been really supportive,” said Harsy.

There will be a group meeting sometime in the near future for fundraising ideas. They are going to meet with Whole Foods to try to get their sponsorship for the garden.