Garden Planting at Charlotte Lab Lower School

On Friday, March 16, Pop Up Produce invited Sunlight Financial, our first garden sponsor, to plant with the third-grade students at Charlotte Lab Lower School. Sunlight Financial provides consumer loans to finance the purchase of residential solar systems, allowing customers to realize the benefits of system ownership. Their organization will help support our garden efforts in a variety of ways, like providing volunteer support and funds to grow and scale our garden curriculum program.

We were really thankful to have twenty energetic volunteers from Sunlight Financial meet with the students in small groups, provide insight into the solar industry, and help plant a diverse group of vegetables and fruit seeds for the 2018 spring season. Even Sunlight’s CEO, Matt Potere, was present to plant with the students and teach them about Sunlight’s work with solar energy! One student asked if Matt knows Elon and Kimbal Musk through their mutual work, and the students were very excited once they heard the answer!

Pop Up Produce staff member, Daniel Heaton, spent the weekend prior building the three new planter beds and had a chance to install the beds with Charlotte Lab Lower students earlier in the week in preparation for the garden planting. Chelsea Wells, Pop Up Produce’s Horticulture Program Development Coordinator, designed the garden landscape to include root vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, herbs, onions and even strawberries. Students participated in hands-on learning by planting companion plants with proper spacing and seed depth.  The students also learned about soil health and plant nutrients, and prepared a new plot themselves that included weeding, adding topsoil, compost and fertilizer, prior to planting their vegetables.  All students showed an understanding of what a healthy fertile soil consists of and how to strategically place plants together for a healthy garden. 

Each student received a Pop Up Produce notebook to document and draw their garden observations throughout the semester. They were so excited for their gift! Everyone had a great time learning and spending the morning outside planting. We’re so grateful for our new partnership with Sunlight Financial, helping to support our garden efforts at Charlotte Lab Lower School!