Edible Classroom Takes Root
9/17/2012 1:00:00 PM by
Don't Miss The Edible Classroom Fundraiser at La Vecchia! Click here for details.
It’s a novel idea – teaching students how they can produce their own nutritious food by planting seeds, tending plants, and harvesting produce – right on their school grounds! The Food Bank of Northern Nevada won a Nevada Fit Kids 2013 grant to support a garden, nutrition, and action project at three school sites in Washoe County over the next 12 months. These schools are Pine Middle and Smithridge and Sun Valley Elementary Schools.
This grant helped pay a certified science teacher/garden educator to build, revitalize and maintain school gardens this summer. In conjunction with afterschool programming at these schools, the garden nutrition course will be included, as will nutrition education for the students and parents, and emphasis on increasing physical activities.
Not only are students learning how to grow their own food, they are learning valuable academic and life skills through the garden projects. Teachers and volunteers have collaborated to work with students to design and build planter boxes, toolboxes, birdhouses, signs; to harvest and preserve produce using equipment the Food Bank provided with the grant funds; to conduct a farmers market for the school neighborhood and develop business skills in recording expenses and income; to practice their creative and analytical writing skills through a journal program about their “outdoor classroom” experiences; to sew reusable shopping tote bags; to learn about recycling school grass clippings and garden waste into valuable compost; to create small-space gardens at their own homes; to collect and identify insects valuable to the gardens; to learn and practice safe food preparation and culinary skills.
The Food Bank’s Child Nutrition Programs provide crucial nutrition support for vulnerable youth and families in our community. They lace a safety net to support thousands of children who lack adequate basic nutrition. For 16 years we have served thousands of Kids Cafe meals in low-income neighborhoods in Washoe County. We partner with organizations running afterschool programs at schools where at least 50% of the students qualify for free and reduced priced school meals and we bolster their enrichment curriculum with our nutrition classes and free meals. Moving into the area of school and community gardens fits with our efforts to create sustainable food systems in our communities.
For more information about how you can support these edible outdoor classroom (school garden projects), please contact Sue Eckes at the Food Bank, at 785 1402. We think every school could benefit from having garden on its grounds!
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