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If overseeing a school garden wasn’t enough, National Board Certified Teacher Molly Reed is helping students cultivate a business, all focused on seeds. “This started because of a student,” says Molly Reed, the Outdoor Learning Teacher at Borton Magnet School. In addition to dedicating time to the

Oct 31, 2016

If overseeing a school garden wasn’t enough, National Board Certified Teacher Molly Reed is helping students cultivate a business, all focused on seeds.


“This started because of a student,” says Molly Reed, the Outdoor Learning Teacher at Borton Magnet School. In addition to dedicating time to the school’s flourishing garden, the Tucson Unified School District employee can add business tycoon to her résumé.

A few years ago, Reed’s students sold packets of marigold seeds to families in the fall. Then, one student took the seeds home, planted, and harvested them. Next, he created origami packets for the seeds and sold them at the school’s chili cook-off.

“He advertised, created planting guides, and made $13 to help support the school garden,” Reed explains. “Did I mention he was only 6 years old at this time?” An entrepreneur in the making.

Flash forward two years, and Reed has tapped into this entrepreneur spirit. Recently, Reed was awarded a $1,000 grant through EdCorps, a Real World Scholars Project, which supports the development of educational, student-run businesses.

Reed says the grant was a golden opportunity because she believes in place-based education. The National Board Certified Teacher advocates for teaching students of today to think locally, while also encouraging them to find global connections.

“With the implementation of our seed project, students are taking their new learnings home with them. This has stirred conversations around culture in their homes and in their own community. They are looking outside of themselves. The students are realizing there is more to the world than just themselves,” she explains. These lessons are as organic as they come.

So, how will Reed take the seed business to the next level?

“Our big picture project is to create a seed-based cookbook. Within our cookbook we would have a variety of recipes based on something that needs to be planted and harvested. The students would create a guide describing when to plant, how to care for, and how to harvest the items needed for each recipe,” Reed says.

Another bonus: EdCorps offers a variety of business support systems to the students, Reed says. “For instance, if the students want to design a logo, EdCorps connects them with a graphic designer. If the students want to learn more about marketing and selling their product, EdCorps provides an expert to guide the students. Through our project the students are not only learning about agriculture and ecology, but they are learning important business skills. Even more importantly, they’re learning that not everything happens instantly. A lot of time, thought, and planning goes into creating a business.” Yet, another life lesson.

Once the product is complete, EdCorps provides a web-based site for the students to sell their products. Then, the school is able to keep the money raised.

“The wonderful thing about the students at Borton School is how much they care about their community. They have decided that the monies raised should be given to a non-profit organization that will help others,” she says.

So, are you inspired yet? This business endeavor began with one student. Who is your one student and how can you turn their ideas into nourished, authentic learning?

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