By Denise Albert
The great culinary genius, Alice Waters, said, “Young people increasingly are isolated from the land and deprived of the joys and responsibilities it teaches.” This declarative statement propelled Waters to create the concept of “the edible schoolyard,” a projects still very active today. In this same spirit, I had the pleasure of working with the Anthony School to create an on-campus garden along with teaching their students a bit about healthy eating and nutrition.
This opportunity inspired me to found Cooking in Bloom, a program that empowers children to be advocates of sustainable life choices that will impact the community by decreasing food waste, childhood hunger, and chronic disease.
Did you know that school based gardening programs are not new? This isn’t a revolutionary idea. The website Green Hearted says, “...school gardens were quite common in Victorian times in England as part of nature study classes, during the world wars in many countries where food shortages occurred, and in the post-civil war era in the USA.” But sometime, somehow, school based gardens slowly disappeared until the rare one or two here and there became a novelty.
The need for these school based gardens are growing and thanks to pioneers like Waters and others they are now considered innovative and mainstream. “Now that the majority of Americans are no longer farmers, however, schools have become many children’s sole exposure to agriculture. But the good news is that they’re far from scarce; schools across the country are scrambling to set up food-producing gardens and take advantage of the hands-on lessons they provide," writes Grist.org.
Are you an educator who wants to explore starting a school based gardening program with a hands on nutritional component? Lets chat! I would love to work with you to provide these opportunities for you students.