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Ms. Jeni Fields: Cultivating a Passion for Gardening at RVIS

By Deena Alreefy
Marketing and Community Relations Liaison
Published: 2023-11-14 10:16:20

Ms. Jeni Fields, an educator at RVIS, has developed a deep-rooted love for the garden since her early childhood years. Growing up in the Philippines, she was surrounded by parents who cultivated a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. For Jeni, a thriving garden symbolized the essence of home. Little did she know that her childhood experiences would shape her future and inspire her to share her passion with others.

When Ms. Jeni moved to New York, a world away from her native Philippines, she encountered a challenge. Many of the vegetables she cherished from her childhood were not readily available in the local grocery stores. Rather than being discouraged, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She started planting these vegetables herself, and ever since, she has never ceased to sow the seeds of her passion.

Fortunately for our students, Ms. Jeni has brought her gardening expertise to the school, igniting a love for nature within the elementary school community. Collaborating with various teachers across the school, she has created a hands-on experience in the garden that aligns with the students' science curriculum. This program caters to students ranging from nursery all the way up to grade 5.

With her farm-to-table approach, Ms. Jeni aims to teach students about the origins of their food and instill in them a sense of connection to nature. She covers a wide range of topics, including soil composition, plant nutrition, life cycles, sunlight requirements, and composting techniques. By immersing the students in the garden, she fosters an understanding of the intricate processes that make food production possible.

Ms. Jeni and the elementary students have embarked on an exciting journey of planting a diverse array of crops. The garden boasts an impressive variety of vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, green beans, lemongrass, ginger, beets, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, basil, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, arugula, cilantro, and sunflowers. Each plant holds the promise of a bountiful harvest, and the anticipation is palpable among our community. The corn is expected to be ready for harvest in early December. Other greens and vegetables will follow suit in January and February.

Beyond the educational benefits, the RVIS garden offers a gateway to countless culinary adventures. The students eagerly look forward to the opportunity to create delicious meals using the fruits of their labor. From farm-fresh salads brimming with leafy greens to hearty stews enriched with homegrown vegetables, the possibilities are endless.

Ms. Jeni Fields has not only nurtured a love for gardening at RVIS but has also cultivated a sense of environmental stewardship among her students. Through her tireless efforts, she has empowered the younger generation to embrace sustainable practices, appreciate the beauty of nature, and understand the importance of knowing where our food comes from.



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