Sustainable Living: Garden to Table \u2014 a new course in sustainable living through gardening and food preparation \u2014 may\u00a0be added to Middlebrook\u2019s course offerings for sixth graders next school year.If approved by the Board of Education, the course would\u00a0provide students the necessary skills to \u201cempower them to tackle life\u2019s challenges and embrace a lifestyle that is sustainable and enriching to the community and the environment,\u201d according to the course proposal by\u00a0culinary arts teacher Heather Priest and sixth grade social studies teacher Will Mathews.Priest and Mathews proposed the course to the Board of Education\u2019s Teaching and Learning Committee on March 12, and shared it with the entire education board during its March 26 meeting.\u201cWe\u2019re calling it a sustainable living program because students are going to be gardening so they understand where the food comes from,\u201d Priest told The Bulletin.\u201cWe\u2019re probably going to be doing half gardening, half cooking, so it\u2019s going to be a little bit more than just taking food from a farm and cooking it. They\u2019re going to be testing the soil, composting \u2014 all that kind of stuff.\u201d Needed skills Sustainable Living: Garden to Table would replace the current sixth grade sewing and textiles course, which sixth graders are required to take as part of Middlebrook\u2019s family and consumer science program. \u201cCurrently, seventh and eighth graders do culinary and sixth graders do sewing, but through the community and the kids talking with their parents,\u201d Priest told The Bulletin, \u201cit seemed that students and families were a little more interested in the food aspect rather than the sewing aspect.\u201d Priest said the concept of the course \u201ccomes from the standpoint of a need for skill.\u201d \u201cWhen students are moving out into the real world, learning how to use a sewing machine isn\u2019t necessarily one of those critical skills that it used to be,\u201d she said. \u201cThere is, however, going to be a huge economic boom of people trying to figure out how we\u2019re going to feed the world\u2019s population and how we\u2019re going to take care of our soil and not poison ourselves with antibiotics, hormones and chemicals.\u201d Not only will the new course provide \u201ca foundation for the seventh and eighth grade cooking classes,\u201d said Priest, but it could also lead to students\u2019 participation in the high school\u2019s culinary arts electives and gardening program. Learning experiences The new course, which would promote\u00a0global awareness, is designed to \u201cplant the seed for a healthier generation that will take better care of the environment.\u201d Each sixth grader would take the 22 sessions of the course for one quarter. The \u201chands-on, project-based\u201d curriculum would\u00a0include multiple learning modalities, including the utilization of technology, to teach students: Gardening basics and tools; The science behind gardening; Kitchen safety and sanitation; Food exploration, including comparative tastings; Composting and environmental awareness; Fruits and vegetables and the benefits of garden-to-table; Snack preparation with the use of wholesome foods grown in Middlebrook\u2019s garden. Students would also participate in \u201cresearch and practical planting methods, evaluate the science behind composting and create new recipes\u201d with the harvest of Middlebrook\u2019s garden. \u201cWe already have four raised beds in one of our courtyards, where we planted vegetables last fall and were able to harvest throughout the year \u2014 up until December, we were able to get kale,\u201d Priest said. \u201cIn the works, we have eight more beds planned with about 25 more crops.\u201d Cost According to the course proposal, the current budget for Middlebrook\u2019s sewing and textiles course would\u00a0be diverted toward the new sustainable living course. The only additional costs would be for the eight new garden beds and $1,762.56 in developmental funds to pay two staff members to align and map the curriculum over the summer. Correction: April 20 \u2014 In the April 16\u00a0issue of The Bulletin, it was incorrectly reported that the Board of Education had approved a Sustainable Living: Garden to Table course for Middlebrook School during its March 26 meeting. The course was only reviewed by the board and has yet to be voted on.