In December, the Oldsmar Organic Community Garden (OOCG) hosted a composting workshop for fourth grade students at Espiritu Santo Catholic School. Through a grant from Simply Organic 1%, volunteers from OOCG ( prepared educational materials and spent time with the students demonstrating how to make healthy soil for an organic garden through composting. The fourth grade students will create their own compost for the Laura Beach Giving Garden at Espiritu Santo Catholic Church & School by collecting compostable scraps from school lunches (including leftovers from our lunch provider, Saltwater Catering) and then processing the scraps through the composting system built for them by the OOCG!

The purpose of the Giving Garden is to educate students about agricultural science, basic horticultural organic and sustainable gardening practices and promote healthy eating habits. Having this hands-on agricultural “Lab” right on the Espiritu Santo campus is a wonderful opportunity; experiences in the Giving Garden enhance what students are already learning through the science curriculum taught in the classroom.

Students will have the opportunity to taste the crop grown in the Giving Garden, but the majority of the harvest will be donated to St. Vincent de Paul, Pinellas Hope and Oldsmar Cares to be used in meals for those who don’t have access to fresh vegetables. As a Catholic school, we value the opportunity the Garden brings to demonstrate Catholic Social Justice at work. Catholic Social Justice means teaching our students to care for God’s creation, as well as care for the poor and vulnerable – this is where the Giving Garden will bring our Catholic faith into action for our students. Students will learn about sustainable farming practices, as well as create food that will help others thrive. All of the lessons learned through the Giving Garden will help our students develop into adults who will make a positive impact on the communities of the future.

If you would like to get involved with the good things growing in Espiritu Santo Giving Garden, contact Alicia Thacker.