Tag Archives: School Garden News

School Garden News – Colorado

Fairmont School garden opens July 11

Contributed by: Jan Webster on 7/7/2008

On Friday, July 11, the Fairmont School garden will kick off the third season of the Youth Market. The garden on the south side of the school at 3rd and Fox in the Historic Baker Neighborhood was started 5 years ago with sponsorship from Slow Food, an organization that has given information, advice, and volunteers. A Live Well grant from Kaiser Foundation, administered by Denver Urban Gardens, helps support the summer gardening program and the student-run market.

Fairmont School is a kindergarten through 8th grade school and in the spring the younger classes start planting seeds in their classrooms and nurture them into plants to be transplanted in the garden the last week of school. The Kaiser grant enables a garden manager to be hired and some pay for the older students who maintain the garden and run the market. The students go through an application process to get these jobs. This year there are 12 students in 5th through 8th grades working three days a week, two in the garden and one preparing for and running the market. The market profits go equally to the students and for the next year’s seed and plant purchases.

Valerie Illg, the garden manager, says that the garden is bigger and better than ever this year and will be ready on July 11, weather permitting, to supply the market with a bounty of vegetables, starting with strawberries, radishes, peas and beans and continuing on to tomatoes, peppers, squash, and corn.

This inner-city school garden is a matter of great pride to the students and the neighborhood. Stop by some week-day morning and see the gardening action for yourself. The market will run from July 11 to September 26, every Friday from 3:30-6:00 p.m. by the school parking lot at 3rd and Fox.

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School Garden News – Oregon

Students grow lunches
By Jennifer Moody, Albany Democrat-Herald

LEBANON — Lebanon’s summer food program will feature a new entree: salad a la Seven Oak.
Salad greens grown at Seven Oak Middle School have already hit that cafeteria. Now, the greens will be served as part of the free lunches distributed every summer at various locations.
Plenty of schools in the fertile Willamette Valley have gardens, but very few grow food to be consumed by students. That may change as food and transportation prices rise and schools look for new ways to motivate healthy choices.
Students at Seven Oak already had a flower garden and a couple of greenhouses. This spring, teachers Rick George and Mark Gullickson joined forces with several Master Gardeners to dig out the first 55-by-125-foot area for five raised-bed plots. More are planned.
By fall, the garden is expected to be producing two to three bushels of corn, along with tomatoes, strawberries and more for the Seven Oak cafeteria.
“We wanted to get the kids a little more nutrition-conscious, and thought if they planted the seed and watered and actually grow the food, they’re going to be more apt to want to eat nutritionally, we think,” George said.
Definitely, said 12-year-old Crystal Pitney, especially if strawberries are involved. “Are you kidding me?” she said, beaming.
The garden is a community effort. Volbeda Dairy donated manure. Students in the district’s YouthBuild program will help irrigate. Master Gardeners Barbara Rowe, Sheryl Casteen and Walt Rebmann brought the salad green starts, helped plant and did the initial tilling, respectively.
If school were still in session, the 200 pounds of lettuce would be enough to feed the entire district — about 2,500 children — every 10 days until the freezes come, said Pam Lessley, Lebanon’s director of nutrition services.
Not every child has hot lunch at school, and some of those who do choose to skip the vegetables, so it’s hard to know how far the garden will go, Lessley said. Right now, she agrees, all the expected produce wouldn’t cover the entire district on a daily basis, or even Seven Oak’s usual 280 daily diners. But it’s a start, and it’s going to expand, Lessley said. And it may help save on produce, which means more money for other foods.
Said George, one of the teachers: “We have to walk before we can run.”Food prices have skyrocketed in the past months, and school lunch programs are being hit particularly hard.
Milk prices were 13.5 percent higher this April than they were in April 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. Bread was up 14.1 percent from a year ago. Fruits and vegetables were up 1.4 percent as a group this year, on top of a 4.4 percent hike last year.
The federal government repays schools between 23 cents and $2.47 for every meal served, but only if schools meet certain food-group standards. Cutting corners means risking loss of the reimbursement.
But the reimbursement no longer goes as far, said Joyce Dougherty, director of child nutrition services for the Oregon Department of Education, and cost-of-living increases of 2 to 3 percent aren’t going to keep up. Money that used to pay for 15 cases of applesauce, say, may now cover only 10.
Lebanon, like most of the districts in the mid-valley, is raising meal prices for students this fall. But Lessley worries the situation may be even worse by then.
“Prices have raised dramatically, and almost all of my purveyors are charging a fuel charge ranging from $3 to $5 a stop,” she said. “I have been in food service for 20 years, and it’s the highest it’s ever been.”
Oregon’s lawmakers are getting into the local idea. The Oregon Farm to School act, signed into law last year, created a special position in the Department of Agriculture specifically to develop links between schools and local growers.
Seven Oak’s garden isn’t part of that initiative, but coordinator Cory Schreiber says it’s in line with what the state wants: give farmers a hand, get kids to eat more vegetables and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by keeping produce closer to home.
Schreiber said he’s heard of a handful of Oregon schools growing produce to eat, but most don’t.
Timing is part of the problem. The bulk of the harvest often comes in summer, when classes aren’t in session. Also, growing for an entire student body every day would take land and labor most districts don’t have.
Safety also could be a concern, said Rick Sherman, director of food service for Greater Albany Public Schools. He said he wouldn’t be convinced that a school meets the same safety standards as a national company.“We get local produce, but through Sysco and reputable dealers,” Sherman said. “If you go through reputable dealers that have $2 million of insurance you’re really covered a lot more.”
But Dougherty, the state’s director, said schools can use the same food-safety practices as the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And sometimes, the locally-grown items are safer than the national ones. Case in point: the salmonella currently prompting fast-food chains to yank all traces of tomatoes.
“What we do know is that kids who work in gardens, whether in school food service or in a tasting party in their classrooms, they eat more fruits and vegetables and try more fruits and vegetables,” she said. “We want schools to have as many gardens as they can.
”Sixth-grader Paige Stagg, of Seven Oak agrees.“I myself have never gardened, so this is a huge new experience for me,” said the 11-year-old, pausing from raking manure into the beds. “Now, if I actually needed to, I could keep going.”

School Garden News – Kansas

Growing Healthier Kids – Study Pits Gardening Against Childhood Obesity

Many of us love talking about the growth of flowers, trees and shrubs, but they’re not the only things blossoming before our eyes.

Childhood obesity is at an all-time high. Nearly one-third of U.S. children are overweight, according to the Annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This trend is particularly troublesome because it can start kids on a path to health problems once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, menstrual problems, trouble sleeping and asthma.

But Candice Shoemaker, associate professor of horticulture, forestry and recreation resources at Kansas State University, hopes to do something about it. She has received a grant for $1.04 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Research Institute to study whether gardening can promote healthier lifestyles.

The study — Project PLANTS (Promoting Lifelong Activity and Nutrition Through Schools) — was inspired by Shoemaker’s experience, shortly after starting at K-State in 2001, of implementing the Junior Master Gardener Health and Nutrition Through the Garden program at elementary schools.

Complete article can be found here

School Garden News – United Kingdom

School Food is Winning Young Fans

“One of the major reasons the meal-uptake of healthy school food has been so dramatic is the effect that the school garden has had on the pupils.

All students, from reception to year 6 are involved in the process of planting, watering and digging up vegetables, both during lesson-time and as an after-school activity.It teaches the children the variety of produce available in Britain and encourages them to try new vegetables, such as marrows, pumpkins and radishes, which are either eaten raw during break-times, or incorporated into the school meals by the head chef. Fruit trees have also recently been planted in the garden to further the pupils understanding, and while they begin to bear produce, local residents have donated their own apples and pears to be incorporated into school meals.”

Complete article can be found here

School Garden News – Pennsylvania

Students Reap Rewards From Garden Program

“The children are really excited about the fact they grew something. They put it in the garden and it actually flourished,” Schwartz said. The students celebrated the fruits of their labors at a back-to-school night Sept. 12.

“I think it was a wonderful program. The students learned a lot about science, but they also learned a lot about helping others,” said Kimberly A. Fetter, All Saints principal.

Complete article can be found here

School Garden News – United Nations

U.N. Garden Program Rolls into Schools

Students at two city school soon will share tips with students around the world on how to grow Swiss chard in a box, through a United Nations program called Growing Connection.

To demonstrate how that works, Robert Patterson, a senior liaison from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Tuesday brought EarthBox container gardens from Washington, D.C., to Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School and Benjamin Jepson School. He walked into Barnard hauling behind him an EarthBox, a plastic container garden with wheels, that overflowed with ruby-veined Swiss chard.
Complete article can be found here

For more info on the The Growing Connection:
http://www.ahs.org/youth_gardening/growing_connection.htm

School Garden News – South Africa

A Dream Garden Turns into Reality
“MAKHOARANE School, the winners of last year’s City Parks’ My Dream Park competition, has seen its dry and dusty playgrounds turned into green oasis, with newly planted trees, a water feature and new swings and slides.”
Complete article can be found here