These days, we hear more and more about our food system in crisis: contamination, obesity, poor distribution, and environmental devastation. To combat some of these issues, the school garden is a growing trend that aims to teach our kids a more direct connection to their food and eating habits. It’s actually not a new concept. During World War I and II, motivated by scarcity and national security issues, schools became major suppliers of fresh produce. Our government began the U.S. School Garden Army, promoting fruit and vegetable production, consumption, and health. But now the format has entered modern times, up against modern ailments and a larger population.
It is one thing to plant a few sunflowers with Kindergarteners and another to install, maintain, and implement nutrition, cooking, and ecological curriculum that ensure a lasting impact on the students. It’s not as easy as just planting some tomatoes and hoping our kids will get the message. We’ve all encountered a neglected schoolyard, tangled weeds and scorched earth, with evidence of good intention but stunted momentum. To really hit home on the important seed to fork lessons a school garden can deliver, it takes tons of work, planning, thought, and consistency…a home garden times one hundred or more. The hurdles involved are also great, from our national policies, to funding, to actual space available within our country’s concrete landscapes. Read more