PSJA’s Buell campus sprouts community garden


A beautiful new community garden at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD’s Buell Central Campus was possible thanks to two generous grants totaling $24,500 from Lowe’s. (Courtesy photo)

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD’s Buell Central High School sprouted a new community garden through two donations from Lowe’s.

Lowe’s granted $23,000 and $1,500 to create a “Greenhouse That Gives Back,” a solar-powered classroom that contained a lab/kitchen, hydroponic system and several lifted garden beds accessible for all students.

“This PSJA Community Garden is open to the entire PSJA district and residents,” Stacey Proctor said at the grand opening celebration on Feb. 7. “We want students to learn to grow their own food and know where their food is coming from. Thank you to Lowe’s for their generous donation. They helped bring a dream to fruition.”

Proctor, a Social Studies teacher at Buell Central, said the project was inspired by a lesson on the Homestead Act of 1862. The lesson educated students on how the early settlers were able to maintain 160 acres of land in addition to raising livestock or cultivation, according to a news release.

PSJA High and middle school students were encouraged to find ways to cultivate food through a community garden inspired by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Some of the students’ projects included: hydroponic and aquaponic gardens, sustainable agriculture through vertical gardening, organic composting and usage of renewable energy through their own solar-powered golf cart and wind energy kite project. 

Part of the event included dozens of elementary students from Marcia Garza Elementary and individuals from the PSJA Pathways Toward Independence/Life Program to plant in the garden beds. 

Derick Villarreal, a first grader at Marcia Garza Elementary, stated in the release that his favorite sustainability goal is to abolish poverty and achieve gender equality

“It’s important because there are people that don’t have food and for people to know that pink is not just for girls it’s for boys too,” Villarreal said. “We want everybody to like everybody.”

(Courtesy photo)

Bernardo Claros, Pharr Lowe’s store manager, felt honored after seeing the impact their donation had on the students and community. 

“I am at a loss for words,” Claros. “It’s absolutely important for us to give through projects like these. As a company, we are honored to be part of something bigger and give back to our community.”