The Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School is home to a 10,000 square foot vegetable, herb, and native perennial garden that functions as a living classroom for elementary school students grades K through 6. The Purple Potato Garden--which takes its name from a favorite ingredient in the BMPCS cooking program--is a hands on learning environment where students learn to plant, water, maintain, and harvest their own fruits and vegetables. Following with the Montessori emphasis on working directly with materials, many of the lessons of the garden are learned through the senses, as students smell and taste the edible plants that are part of their recess area.
In addition to the large vegetable garden, BMPCS also addresses issues of urban ecology with a large bioswale drainage area, which incorporates native trees, shrubs, and flowers into the school landscape while removing silt and pollution from surface runoff water. The bioswale also serves as a nutritious habitat for the school's hens, who the students help care for. The eggs layed in the chicken coop are harvested daily by students and incorporated into the menu of the student kitchen program.
The BMPCS green space also houses a beehive, which provides honey for student micro-economy projects. Last year's honey supply (90 pounds) sold out the first day students put up a farm-stand in the school office.
About twenty fruit trees make up the final tier of green-space. Dotted within the recess yard as well as lining the perimeter of the school in street planters, the young fruit trees will one day provide fresh apples, pears, and peaches to the neighborhood and school.