Making A Difference By Planting A Garden

April 20, 2012   15 Comments

Everyone who reads Snack Girl is at least thinking about healthy eating. They may not be doing it right now - but they are considering it.

Crocker Farm Garden

The photo above was taken last week at my local elementary school. What are those volunteer worker bees doing? They are planting a garden that will be filled with vegetables, fruits, and berries for the children of the school.

This elementary school happens to be the one my children attend. It is a lovely school and it is named after the farm that it was built upon - Crocker Farm. When I first laid eyes on it, I wondered why there wasn't a garden. And, I guess I wasn't the only one.

This garden gift is especially important given that we have an obesity EPIDEMIC in this country. The word "epidemic" seems to sound scary when we use it with a virus such such as "SARS epidemic". Somehow "obesity epidemic" doesn't terrify us enough. Two out of every three Americans is overweight or obese.

According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6-11 years who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008.

What are we going to do about it? Michelle Obama decided to plant a garden on the grounds of the White House. I did think this kitchen garden was a great move, but I like the one at my elementary school even more.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. - Chinese Proverb

It is a step in the right direction for the students, teachers, and health professionals that inhabit the school everyday. As the school figures out how to include the garden in the curriculum and (hopefully) the school lunch, everyone is going to learn about healthy eating in the most fundamental way possible. Dirt, seeds, water, plants....FOOD!

One teacher I spoke to was thrilled to be able to grow peas to teach a class about measurements. The school nurse told me she couldn't wait for the students to try the fresh vegetables that the garden will eventually produce.

I want to thank everyone who gave their time, money, and support to the new garden (especially Jeff and Alex). It is inspirational to me to know that we can come together and make something so important happen.

And, I can't WAIT to help the kindergartners plant the cherry tomatoes :-)

Please share this post with your friends and think about what you might contribute to your local school or community by planting a garden.

“I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets.....” - William James

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This is so sweet!! I love planting gardens, which is what I have planned today and helping others and teaching kids about plants, gardens and earth is a beautiful thing! Love your post today!

Love this idea but how did your community make it happen? My understanding is that when we have tried we have been told the garden may be planted, taken care of and harvested for donations, but not for use in our schools per the FDA.

I live in an area that is prone to heat waves and drought. Sadly, gardens don't survive well unless they are maintained virtually 24/7. Climate factors are changing and this will be a reality for many more in the years to come. It is one thing to water your garden everyday when you have water to 'waste' (I have a rainbarrel) and another when you are under extreme water conversation.

I love this idea! What a great teaching tool for the kids and fun too.

Your children are blessed to be going to a school that is tackling this issue and fighting with fresh food! Kudos to them, and may more follow suit!

Thank you for writing about this Lisa, and what a fabulous raised bed facility they are constructing. We are doing this at my children's elementary school, in our first year, and loving how it's making the kids think about where their food comes from and other choices related to sustainable living. Check out our progress from the beginning of the school year:

Great article about what worked in Philadelphia schools!

Check out, too!

I just finished building my raised bed yesterday! So excited to plant!

I love this idea! I am a peek teacher at an elementary school and I think this is an awesome idea! Children are rarely exposed to such simple things nowadays! This is a great teaching tool that you could do so much with. I think all schools should do this! Of course I agree with what some of the other post said above... How are they going to do this with FDA regulations, etc? Im at a large elementary school... How will they have enough to feed all the kids the same daily menu? Who is going to care for the garden? Harvest it? Especially through the summer when students are gone and most of the staff? I would be very interested in knowing how they are planning to do these things and also how it turns out. Will you please keep us updated? I would love to share with my school! Thanks!

More schools should be doing this!

I'm excited about growing some cherry tomatoes this year on my porch. Even though there is land all around me, I live in a condo development and I can't plant a garden. My big hope is that my daughter (3, and doesn't eat veggies) will think the cherry tomatoes are like grapes, which she does eat. My fingers (toes, arms, legs and even eyes) are crossed in hope that it will work, even if only for a day.

I devote all of my volunteer work to farm education (for children) including teaching them about outdoors and nature. This is great to see--and a great teaching opportunity for the science teachers.

This is fantastic!!! I hope our schools continue to move in this direction.

Great idea. I'm happy to see that the schools are finally starting to catch on. There is a school around here that has a Chef prepare healthy school lunches everyday for the kids. From the other side of health (exercise), I've been doing after school fitness classes at a local school (k - 8). Too bad your elementary school isn't closer to me. I'd love to learn how to plant a vegetable garden someday. I'm afraid I was born without a green thumb...

This is so wonderful. I've been having a hard time convincing the teachers at my son's elementary school to cut back on the outrageous amount of sweets used at parties and as rewards, but perhaps this is a much more positive avenue to take. Giving people something positive to do for change is always more effective than berating them for something negative they are already doing. Thanks and congratulations on this incredible idea taking 'root' : )

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