Garden forms into center for nutrition and home for animals

Garden forms into center for nutrition and home for animals

Although a naming contest is currently being held, the effervescent piglet currently known as Porkchop enjoys a mid-afternoon meal. Along with an older female, these creatures have been the newest additions to Downey High School’s farm-like garden located behind the S-building.

The farm-like garden secluded behind S-building adopted two pigs last week into the growing family of crops and animals on campus. What began as a collaboration between Mr. Houts and Botany and Biology teachers has turned into a school wide phenomenon. Numerous fruits and vegetables were planted as the biology program took on a few chicken eggs earlier in the year and hatched them into high school hens. A male and female pig were rescued and added into the mix as the garden continues to gain popularity. Though from the surface it may seem as if the campus is swept up in the antics of the farm animals and expansive crops, the garden serves a deeper purpose.

“The main purpose of our project is to show students where their food comes from and raise awareness about rescued animals,” Principal Houts said.

The principal plans on incorporating the products from the garden in the school’s cafeteria for student meals. Potatoes, peppers, peaches, apples, persimmons, citrus fruits, peppers, and avocados are amongst the many products growing in the small farm. This produce, along with the eggs laid by the chickens, will all go back to the school kitchen in an effort to create healthier and more organic eating habits. Students will not only reap the edible benefits from these school-grown products, but they will also participate in the maintenance of this garden and learn from the experience.

Students have been participating in this endeavor and gained a greater interest in the farm’s growth with the addition of the new animals. Senior Eugene Laport did his part in helping Mr. Houts and the garden crew by building the chicken coup, which houses 5 growing chickens. The pig project has been a team effort, which not only includes administrators, their families, and SEACCA, but students as well. Upon the arrival of the youngest pig, Mr. Houts took initiative by taking the animal home with him for the weekend. The principal proved to be a true “fearless leader” by deciding to sleep beside the crying piglet in his garage that night. Mr. Baker also took part in caring for the animals by housing the larger pig for the weekend. Junior Cody Mohacsi is also assisting with the care of these animals by sacrificing time from his spring break to watch over one of the pigs.

“I’ll be taking care of the little one for four days over spring break,” Mohacsi said, “I’m pretty excited.”

The student body has begun to share that same excitement with regards to the animals. Though it is encaged, the farm has drawn in crowds of students during both lunches on any given day. The future of the farm has also generated excitement as word of a Pigmy goat joining the animal family reached the ears of the students. The enthusiasm for these adopted animals continues to grow, members of ASB decided to host a “Pig Naming Competition.”

“We thought putting this contest together would be a great way to bring the student body together and recognize the animals,” ASB Commissioner of Campus and Community Service, Josh Noa said.

Though compared to other schools, the project may appear as a bit bizarre and surreal, the garden continues to gain popularity and culture students about produce and farm animals.