School Gardens in the News

1) Nashville, TN
Nashville school gardens get kids outdoors

The three Eakin Elementary students pulled and tugged until they glimpsed the top of the orange vegetable. “I think I can get it,” they took turns saying. After much effort, their eyes grew big when they finally saw the carrot and its roots. “Can we eat it?” they all asked simultaneously.

2) Moraga, CA
Garden helps Moraga students grow

It’s a typical math lesson in a not-so-typical classroom.
“How many cups in a quart?” Alice Noyes asked more than a dozen fifth-graders sitting outside on a sunny Friday morning.
“Four,” replied Ethan Valencia, who was then dispatched to mix 2 quarts of water with 1 quart of salt to make a mixture for seasoning seeds from sunflowers planted by students last year.
Welcome to the Rheem Elementary School garden.

3) Baltimore, MD
Baltimore schools go vegetarian one day a week

When the assistant White House chef Sam Kass visited a Baltimore school last week for lunch, he was treated to vegetarian eggplant dip that the students had made with vegetables and herbs from their own organic school garden.
It’s all part of an effort by the Baltimore school system to introduce children to healthier and more sustainable foods. In pursuit of that goal, lunches are now vegetarian every Monday in school cafeterias across the city.

4) Brooklyn, NY
Little Green Thumbs

One of my fondest grade-school memories involves a sweet potato, toothpicks, and a glass of water. There was something magical about watching as a tangle of roots first appeared in the water, followed by leafy tendrils that spilled over the glass and then extended wildly across the kitchen windowsill.

5) Palm Springs, CA
Schools take the lead in teaching students how to live a healthy life

Childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed nationally, tripling in less than 30 years. It is a serious problem that endangers students’ health and taxes the medical system.

Scarecrows in the Garden

"Go Skatecrow Go!" by students at Fayette Middle School

"Go Skatecrow Go!" by students at Fayette Middle School

Scarecrows in a school garden is a fun activity. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is currently exhibiting its annual “Scaregrows in the Garden”. See link for pics and ideas.

Target Field Trip Grants Program

Deadline: Nov. 3, 2009

As part of the Target commitment to supporting education, Target Field Trip Grants program will award 5,000 grants of up to $800 each to U.S. educators to fund a field trip for their students. Target Field Trip Grants may be used to fund trips ranging from visits to art museums and environmental projects to cultural events and civic experiences. Education professionals who are at least 18 years old and employed by an accredited K-12 public, private or charter school in the United States that maintains a 501(c)(3) or 509(a)(1) tax-exempt status are eligible to apply. For more information, and to apply, visit target.com.

Starting from Seed

The vegetables we grow are mostly annuals. They start from seed, flower,
and end as seeds all within a defined year. That’s their life cycle.

Bolted Lettuce

Bolted Lettuce

Save some seeds this year.  The easiest are cilantro and lettuce.
We also do arugula, fennel, marigolds, beans and sunflowers.
See Starting from Seed for more instructional material.

marigold

Marigold Seeds

Support School Gardens – Contact Your Representative

On August 4, 2009, an amendment introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders of
Vermont to provide 2 million dollars to fund a “school community garden
pilot program” was unanimously approved as part of the Senate Ag
Appropriations Bill, which passed the Senate on the same date.

Gardens are powerful educational tools, providing opportunities for children to experience the natural world as they develop strong academic skills and positive attitudes toward fresh fruits and vegetables, and learn important sociological skills that enhance the quality of their lives. Says one teacher from the Arnold Schwarzenegger Charter Elementary School in California, “Children demonstrated a better understanding of concepts and applied them in more sophisticated ways after having instruction in the garden.”

The Sanders amendment funding the program will now go through the conference committee process with the House of Representatives.

I encourage you to contact your representatives in Washington to urge them to keep the funding for the program in the final Agriculture Appropriations bill.

Please click here to send a letter in support of the funding.

As you contact Congress about the bill, I recommend focusing on members of the conference committee, who are listed below. These are the members who will have the most sway over whether the funding is ultimately kept in the bill, and we anticipate that they will make their decision by the end of the September 2009. Thank you again for all of your help!

Sen. Kohl (D-WI)
330 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Pryor (D-AR)
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Farr (D-CA)
1126 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Brownback (R-KS)
303 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Specter (D-PA)
711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Boyd (D-FL)
1227 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Inouye (D-HI)
722 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Bennett (R-UT)
702 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Bishop (D-GA)
2429 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Cochran (R-MS)
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Bond (R-MO)
274 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Davis (D-TN)
410 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Harkin (D-IA)
731 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. McConnell (R-KY)
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Kaptur (D-OH)
2186 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Feinstein (D-CA)
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Collins (R-ME)
413 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Hinchey (D-NY)
2431 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Durbin (D-IL)
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. DeLauro (D-CT)
2413 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Jackson (D-IL)
2419 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Johnson (D-SD)
136 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Kingston (R-GA)
2368 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Latham (R-IA)
2217 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Nelson (D-NE)
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Obey (D-WI)
2314 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Emerson (R-MO)
2440 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Reed (D-RI)
728 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Lewis (R-CA)
2112 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Alexander (R-LA)
316 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONACT:
Office of Senator Bernard Sanders
332 Senate Dirksen Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-5141

Soil Testing – How clean is the dirt?

By Susan Carpenter, LATimes.com

All dirts are not created equal. Urban dirt in particular has suffered the fallout from human activity, often with higher-than-healthy concentrations of lead, arsenic and other toxic metals that accumulate in the soil and are sucked up by plants. It’s an issue of grave importance for the millions of Americans who are food gardening. Soil testing, whether for pH, salinity, texture or heavy metals — all of which affect how well, or if, a plant will grow — is a good idea for anyone who intends to eat the bounty of their gardens. Several laboratories offer soil testing for home gardeners, including:

Wallace Laboratories, El Segundo. (310) 615-0116 or www.bettersoils.com. $65 per test.

EarthCo, St. Louis. (314) 994-2167 or www.drgoodearth.com. $20 to $100 per test.

Smart By Nature: Schooling for Sustainability

Smart By Nature: Schooling for Sustainability
By Michael K. Stone/Center for Ecoliteracy
Foreword by Daniel Goleman, author of Ecological Intelligence

sbn-coverSmart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability portrays the growing sustainability movement in K-12 education, showcasing inspiring stories of public, independent, and charter schools across the country.

This 216-page book describes strategies for greening the campus and the curriculum, conducting environmental audits, rethinking school food, and transforming schools into models of sustainable community.

Smart by Nature is available from Watershed Media/University of California Press in September 2009.

Reserve your copy of Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability from University of California Press.