The Classical Roots Program is a regenerative agriculture program that works to integrate the stewardship of creation comprehensively across many aspects of our school’s life. On this website, you can follow the progress of that program as it expands. We have many goals. Among them are the development of outdoor classrooms, the healing of our local biome, and even the planting of an orchard. Of course, as gardeners, we know that all such plans have to be made with crossed fingers and taken with a grain of salt. Even if you prepare the soil well, what you plant often grows in unexpected ways. Sometimes it does not grow at all, and ends up mulching something else that wants to thrive. But here, you can watch as we water it, prune it, uproot bits of it to plant elsewhere, and generally enjoy the harvest. 

 

We’re glad you’ve found us and encourage you to follow us on our journey.

 

 

 

About the Program

 

 

 

The Classical Roots Program began with a patch of grass. That patch, situated outside of a Logic School classroom on the western end of Covenant’s campus, has since been transformed into a six-bed organic vegetable garden, surrounded by wattle fencing and overlooked by Morello cherry trees and Iceberg roses. Passing by the garden on any given day, you might find a Junior weeding a patch of kale, a Senior staking in a woven bed-divider, or a rabbit nibbling the arugula. The garden is an extension of the school’s classical identity. And it is growing.  

 

What started as a somewhat crazed idea for a 12th-grade literature class now involves more than thirty-five student volunteers across the Upper School. This garden has also been integrated into at least three classroom curriculums in the Logic and Rhetoric programs. The program’s growth has been rapid and organic. Our Senior World Literature course, all about the relationship between people and place, asks our prospective graduates to work the garden while discussing metaphors of soil and growth in the lives of the characters we study. Our AP Chemistry course conducts soil and water studies. Our Logic School life science students wander between the beds and note how plants from the Mediterranean grow best in dry, rocky soil, while English leeks thrive in sand, and mint wanders undeterred no matter where you put it. 

 

Experiences like these, shared between students and faculty, between volunteers and classmates, between people and the earth, are life-giving. As a Classical and Christian school, we know in our bones that humans were designed to be stewards of creation. However, the typical school experience provides few opportunities for us to fulfill that purpose directly. The small garden outside our Logic School began when a few of our faculty and administrators asked each other, “what place could a garden occupy in the life of a Classical Christian school?” What has grown from that garden has been more than a few annual vegetables. Young as it is, the garden has reawakened a broad set of perennial human interests among our students and faculty. 

 

It became obvious very quickly that a single garden was not going to be enough. Tending the earth is this way, alongside our students and as a part of our curriculums, felt like a natural expression of our school’s identity and core values. In an era of growing environmental awareness, we could teach principles of sustainability and stewardship. In an age of post-industrial, technological workforces, we could reconnect young people to the outdoors. In an epoch of fast living and instant gratification, we could reinforce the truism that all of us, ultimately, are on nature’s timetable rather than our own. And along the way, we could foster tenacity, joy, humility, and discernment―each a very necessary gardener’s skill. The harvest we would reap would of course be physical: who doesn’t like to sprinkle fresh basil into their spaghetti sauce, and who in the world can resist the savor of a ripe tomato? But, much more, the harvest would be intellectual and spiritual. We would, in our students and in ourselves, be reaping a new appreciation for truth, beauty, and goodness whose roots would continue to deepen throughout our lifetimes. What could be more natural, or more urgent? 

 

In the end, we launched the Classical Roots Program, a regenerative agriculture program that hopes to integrate the stewardship of creation comprehensively across many aspects of our school’s life. On this website, you can follow the progress of that program as it expands. We have many goals. Among them are the development of outdoor classrooms, the healing of our local biome, and even the planting of an orchard. Of course, as gardeners, we know that all such plans have to be made with crossed fingers and taken with a grain of salt. Even if you prepare the soil well, what you plant often grows in unexpected ways. Sometimes it does not grow at all, and ends up mulching something else that wants to thrive. But here, you can watch as we water it, prune it, uproot bits of it to plant elsewhere, and generally enjoy the harvest. 

 

Thanks for joining us!      

 

 

 

 

 

–Alex Miller, Jr. 

Classical Roots Program Steward

 

 

 

 

 
 
Mission Statement

Covenant Christian Academy’s Classical Roots Program is a regenerative agricultural program committed to propagating truth, beauty, and goodness through organic gardening, curriculum integration, and community service. The Classical Roots Program aims to create beautiful and fruitful garden spaces on CCA’s campus that will welcome wildlife, extend our classrooms into the outdoors, heal our local biome, and foster rich conversations about the stewardship of creation.

 

Tenets of the Program
  1. Cultivate Knowledge 
  2. Cultivate Awareness
  3. Cultivate the Earth

 


 
 
Current Planting Inventory

 

Vegetable Garden

Dwarf Morello Cherry Trees: Prunus cerasus
Climbing Iceberg Roses: Rosa “Iceberg Climbing”
Snow Peas: “Oregon Snow”
Peas: “Lincoln”
Sage: Common
Argugula: “Roquette”
Kale: “Lucinato”
Tomatoes, “Early Girl”
Marigolds (Variety Unknown)

 

Upper School Entrance

Clematis “Jackmani”
Catmint Napet
Daylily Hemerocallis Stella D’Oro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Involved!

 

Volunteer Your Time

Sign up to steward the garden with your family for one week this summer. There will be vegetables to harvest and take home!

Current CCA Families can sign up here.

 

 

Make a Donation of Materials

We are currently looking for the following items for our garden. If you would like to donate one of the items below, please contact Alex Miller. alex.miller@ccamail.org

  • Song Bird Houses – all sizes, shapes and colors welcome!
  • Stone Bird Bath – looking for something with a minimal design
  • Weeding Tools – Hoop Hoes like this are especially useful.
  • Tumbling Compost Sifter – this sifter would be very helpful to our active compost program! 
 
Make a Monetary Donation

We have lots of hopes and dreams for this program, including replanting our many interior courtyards for various purposes and we’re dreaming of planting an orchard. If you’d like to financially support this effort you can do so through the PayPal button below, or through the Business Office at CCA.

 

 

We always welcome ideas or donations for our garden. Please contact Program Steward, Alex Miller to start a conversation. alex.miller@ccamail.org

 

 

Suggested Reading

 

Organic and Regenerative Gardening Guides:

  • The Complete Gardener by Monty Don

  • Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes Hardcover by Thomas Raine and Claudia West 

  • The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden by Rick Darke

  • Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change by Larry Weaner

  • Lawns into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape by Owen Wormser

Ecology and Conservation:  

  • Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy

  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

  • Understanding Climate Change: A Practical Guide by Frank Spellman 

 

Taproot: Program Blog

 

Classical Roots Program Blog

 

 

Volunteers

“The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning.” –T. S. Eliot, “The Dry Salvages”   Squash is a tenacious plant. The internal temperature of a hot, healthy compost pile can reach anywhere from 120 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, cooking the seeds and roots of most plants into dutiful submission. B…

Water

“Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.”   –Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”   Americans love their lawns. Indeed, it is hard to form a complete idea of America without the smell of fresh-cut grass or the mown stripes that checker a baseball field in h…

Ornamentals

I am overtired / Of the great harvest I myself desired.   –Robert Frost, “After Apple-Picking”   There is a strange give and take to a garden’s relationship with the landscape and ecology that surround it. Most people who make a brand new vegetable garden begin with tomato plants: a good…

Anxiety

posted 6/10/2022   When despair for the world grows in me… I come into the peace of wild things   ―Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”    This morning I realized that I’ve unconsciously developed a habit. I’m not sure when it started. But every day before school I find myself ta…

Planting Out

posted 6/5/2022   I seem / separate from the ground…but there’s all this what is it?…roots roots roots… –Ted Hughes, “Wodwo”   T.S. Eliot called April the cruelest month. This signals to me that he must have known something about gardening because, in New England, April is a month of cold…

Tools

posted 5/27/2022   Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests. / I’ll dig with it.  –Seamus Heaney, “Digging”   All of our tools at the school are borrowed. From the maintenance department. Which is a bit of a shame, because it is always best to find a tool that fits your hand j…

Compost

posted 5/20/22   I was thy neighbor once, thou rugged Pile! –William Wordsworth, “Elegiac Stanzas”   Even conservative estimates tell us that, in a patch of earth no bigger than most people’s lawns, there exist more living organisms than there are stars in the known universe. At least, th…

Fences

posted 5/4/2022   “Was there a garden, or was the garden a dream? ―Jorge Louis Borges   A man and a woman are standing in the garden. It might be more accurate just to call it a patch of land. Not a single seed has been sewn there. Last fall, the six rectangular beds were double-dug straig…



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