Escuela Manzo

Tucson, AZ

A School and a Curriculum Built around Gardens

At Manzo school gardens help teachers introduce students to important ‘real world’ applications of what they learn in the classroom, such as the dynamics of local ecologies, the science of sustainability, and the political and cultural aspects of our food choices. Equally important as conventional and practice-based learning spaces, school gardens foster cooperation, autonomy, and social justice as epitomized by the manner in which they utilize and share the bounty of their work.

Produce from the gardens helps supply the school cafeteria and allows students to sell eggs and vegetables every other week to parents and neighbors. The school also teaches about sustainability by capturing rainwater in its cisterns and producing its own power with solar collectors. Parents, volunteers, and interns from the University of Arizona assist with the gardens and other needs at the school. Manzo is a source of pride and community spirit in the Barrio Hollywood neighborhood.

Manzo has a symbiotic relationship with Univ. of Arizona, supplying volunteers, interns, and garden expertise.

The school won Best Green School Award in 2012 from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The composting program teaches valuable lessons about reducing waste and recycling.

Student exhibit enthusiasm for the gardening and husbandry curriculum and activities.

The courtyards around which the classrooms are arranged become vibrant instructional spaces.

The same is true of the small orchard and other gardens behind the school.