EATS Gardens & Sustainability Programs
At EATS, our four main areas of focus are: Advocacy, Education, Food Security, and Gardening & Sustainability. Our gardening programs are the newest addition to our Education focus. We have been teaching gardening education since 2019 at schools and garden spaces across the Wasatch Back. Our sustainability programming began with our staff looking at the whole food cycle and realizing that we could close the gap in our food cycle as an organization by advocating for composting programs. This school year, EATS has started a waste diversion program in the form of composting at Parley’s Park Elementary School. Read more about EATS’ Garden & Sustainability work below.
Gardens and Gardening Education
Parley’s Park Greenhouse
Elementary School. Here, we teach gardening and outdoor education throughout the whole school year. Students investigate seasonal changes, learn the parts of a plant, get to handle live worms, and so much more in this magical space. The Parley’s Park Elementary School greenhouse is also home to the EATS herb garden. We use tons of herbs like basil, cilantro, and dill in our cooking classes and this garden is where we source most of those herbs.
Park City Day School Greenhouse
New this school year, EATS is partnering with Park City Day School staff to reinvigorate their large greenhouse. We have started off the school year by teaching garden lessons and facilitating taste tests to students of all ages in the greenhouse. Students took part in weeding, preparing the raised beds, and planting new vegetables in the soil here. We are excited at the growing potential in this space where we have the support of older students and an awesome staff!
Summit Community Garden Plot
Each summer, EATS rents a plot at Summit Community Gardens. We use this plot for summer camp activities like learning about pollination and harvesting. We also grow tons of produce in our plot here that supports our cooking class education during the summer and into the first months of the school year. In the summer of 2021, EATS garden staff grew and harvested rainbow chard, kale, spinach, arugula, rhubarb, tomatoes, jalapenos, dill, beets, broccoli, and zucchini from our plot at Summit Community Gardens! All of this food was used in our cooking classes or donated to the Christian Center of Park City when there was excess.
Garden Space Donated Off 224
In the heart of Park City, along highway 224, there is a lovely garden space with large raised beds and greenhouse owned by Bark City Veterinary Specialists. Starting in the summer of 2021, EATS garden staff took on the large project of battling ground squirrels to grow food for our community at this space. EATS staff were most notably able to harvest greens and strawberries from this space. We learned a lot about gardening at a venue that is fully open to the elements and are excited to continue our partnership with the awesome folks at Bark City next summer when gardening weather rolls around again.
EATS Tower Gardens
EATS operates and maintains 7 tower gardens across Park City schools. These hydroponic gardens grow vegetables inside of schools in which there is no designated garden space. The towers are a great way to bring tangible garden education to schools that don’t yet have a greenhouse or raised beds to observe. Students can learn plant identification, do taste tests, and practice self-pollination when learning from EATS staff using the tower gardens.
Food Waste Diversion
Parley’s Park Composting Pilot Program
Last school year, EATS staff noticed large amounts of food waste in school waste bins and saw this as an awesome opportunity to divert the food from waste to compost. EATS employed Spoil to Soil to shuttle 5-gallon buckets to and from the school, taking the food waste to a local farm. This method worked well when students were eating together in their classrooms, but EATS staff soon recognized a need for a much larger composting program.
This school year, EATS has teamed up with Momentum Recycling to offer composting at lunchtime. In the cafeteria at Parley’s Park Elementary School, students and teachers can find normal trash cans alongside bright green compost bins. With the help of EATS staff and volunteers, students can empty all of their food waste in the large green compost bins and divert all of their food waste from the landfill to a local farm! In the first few weeks of this program, we have diverted an average of 550 POUNDS of food waste per week. We can not wait to expand this program across the whole district and beyond.