Local church donates trees to Flat Rock Middle School for orchard

Flat Rock Middle students planting one of the fifteen trees in the school's new orchard.

Passing by Flat Rock Middle School you might find students putting their green thumbs to work after Hopewell United Methodist Church (HUMC) donated 15 trees to create an orchard at Flat Rock Middle School.

HUMC received a grant from the Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI) which installs orchards and gardens at schools and community sites in the Atlanta area.  After considering its potential for educational impact, church leaders decided that Flat Rock Middle School would be a suitable location for the orchard because of the school’s Community for Creativity and STEAM programs, which focus on innovative sustainable communities; the orchard installation will be an additional asset towards that work.

“Because the STEAM program at Flat Rock Middle School has a sustainability theme, Hopewell has donated this orchard to the teachers and students at Flat Rock, knowing that having an orchard on the school grounds will be an enormous educational asset for years to come, as well as an ongoing source of healthy, locally-grown food,” says Sandy Golden, Hopewell’s Food Forest Project Coordinator.

To celebrate the new orchard, Flat Rock Middle invited the public to gather and watch as students planted a variety of trees including plum, pear, apple, paw-paw, persimmon; berry and fig bushes were also planted.

The special event included Sandy Creek High School’s orchestra, drama team, and culinary arts students who prepared a variety of Hors d’oeuvres for the guests to enjoy.

“We’re helping the community and we’re growing trees. The world needs trees so we’re helping everyone around here,” one student expressed while planting the trees.

Flat Rock Middle plans to share the orchard with Robert J. Burch Elementary and Sandy Creek High to be used as a hands-on learning experience for students in all grade levels.