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BGA is two-thirds of the way through the completion of a renovated outdoor space providing us with a new outdoor classroom and community garden. Funded by a grant from GrowBoston and shepherded by landscape design company OJB, the space includes 8 raised beds, a rain garden, picnic tables, trees and shrubs, and a farm stand/study area. The design incorporates our existing container farm that produces between 30 and 50 pounds of leafy greens every week.  Still to come is the classroom teaching deck which will surround an existing mature tree, and include amphitheater-like seating on the slope that faces the container farm.  Generous grants from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and from The Henderson Foundation have brought us within $50,000 of completing the project.  

Gladiator Greens

Fighting Hunger, Feeding Community

In the first years of our Career Technology and Education in Environmental Science (CTE) program, students began to talk about, research, and engage in conversation about food justice. They discovered that in Massachusetts, one in ten children do not have enough food to eat, meaning that statistically, 50 of their peers at BGA experience persistent hunger, as do their families. 

Thus was born the Entrepreneurship class that quickly became the burgeoning business, Gladiator Greens.  Students asked that each year, the 10th grade cohort of the CTE program be dedicated  to creating and running a business that provides fresh produce to families. They chose a non-profit business model that will sustain itself by selling produce at a reasonable cost, use those funds to run the business, and give away the majority of the crop yield to families in need through partner Lovin' Spoonfuls.

As students worked together to create a business name, tag line, mission statement, and budget, they also learned about the mechanics of running a container farm.  They created a survey asking the BGA community including  students, staff, parents, siblings, partner organizations about the greens they would be 

most interested in eating, and began to learn about controlling the farm soil's ph, water use, and temperature through the online platform that runs these systems.  In the process of the research, Gladiator Greens was concerned to learn about the carbon emissions resulting from the use of electricity to run the freight farm year-round. Discussions quickly turned towards the ethical challenge presented by creating one problem in order to solve another, and conversation began to focus on adding solar panels to run the farm.

The entrepreneurship class that was created to help students learn the intricacies of running a sustainable business has, through student advocacy, turned into a business that is learning how to remain true to its ideals. The current iteration of Gladiator Greens is a business that grows microgreens year-round, with a business model that sustains its fiscal integrity through limited partnerships and donates the majority of its produce to families in need. It is also a business that is conscious of the irony of feeding community while contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, and is now solving for that challenge.


The photo directly above shows the delivery of our Freight Farm to its permanent location at the side of the school, and just at the back of our new outdoor classroom. Each year, the new 10th grade CTE class in environmental science runs the farm: planting seed plugs in panels which are then hung from the ceiling; tending growth both in person and by running the app that controls temperature and hydration; harvesting the produce when ready; and supervising the distribution to students, families, staff, and to food banks via our partner Lovin' Spoonfuls.

BGA is now consistently harvesting 30-50 pounds of greens/week from as many as 11 different crops of lettuce, kale, and herbs.


Our farm stand (above, second from the right), a brand new structure in the outdoor classroom provides a location for our school and community gardeners to serve members of our Brighton community who want consistently fresh greens and produce.  While vegetables and flowers won't be ready until the spring of 2024 (we will be planting this fall), we plan to open the Farm Stand a couple of days a week before the cold weather sets in.

When we are not using the farm stand to sell vegetables, students use the shaded space and countertops for school work.

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