The School Garden Network

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  • 1.        
  • 2. The School Garden Network focuses on teaching elementary school children about the importance of eating sustainable, locally-grown food as well as the importance of preparing healthy meals that include a variety of fruits and vegetables. I have chosen to focus on the elementary school level because I feel that it is important to encourage children to maintain a healthy lifestyle at a young age in order for them to carry those ideas with them throughout their lives. My goal is for every elementary school in San Diego County to have its own vegetable garden or small-scale farm. I propose launching the program initially at the elementary schools with the greatest nancial need and ultimately expand the program to all elementary schools in San Diego County. The program will encourage the participant schools to take eld trips to local farms so students can personally experience how their food is grown and learn about the importance of buying locally grown food. Utilizing the products of local growers can greatly decrease our impact on the environment and aid in moving our society towards functioning in a sustainable manner. Buying locally grown and produced foods also greatly reduces the amount of fossil fuels consumed during food transportation, resulting in a reduced impact on our planet.1 Back in the school gardens, the children will be able to apply the positive agricultural principles that they learn while visiting local farms to supplement health and science lessons given by teachers. My project additionally includes the implementation of a kitchen on the site of each of the school gardens. The kitchen is a pre-fabricated structure that will be a place where local chefs can teach students how to cook simple, healthy, delicious snacks and meals with the produce grown in the school garden. The kitchen will allow an interactive experience where students will be able to learn rst-hand how easy it is to cook healthy meals. Encouraging students to eat healthily will help to reverse the growing trends of obesity, early-onset diabetes, and hypertension, among other chronic diseases, in children.2 The goal of the program will be for each school to become dependent upon the products of their own garden or trade with other schools for the produce required to ful ll the needs of their lunch programs. There are many opportunities for sponsorship of the program due to the various issues that are addressed through the program. For example, because the program encourages eating healthy, the Healthy School Lunch Campaign could be pursued for sponsorship. Furthermore, the Farm Bureau of San Diego County o ers school garden/agricultural project grants. Additionally, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation awards grants that generally range from ve thousand to twenty- ve thousand dollars. The program would bene t from insight from Alice Waters who began the Edible Schoolyard (ESY), which is a one-acre garden at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California.3 The School Garden Network will improve the health of students in schools, educate students on the importance of buying locally grown produce, and inspire the communities around them. 1 “Why Buy Local?” 2009. Sustainable Table. 17 October 2009. <http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/whybuylocal/>. 2 “Healthy School Lunches.” Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. 17 October 2009. <http://www.healthyschoollunches.org/> 3 “The Edible Schoolyard.” The Edible Schoolyard. 18 October 2009. <http://www.edibleschoolyard.org/> 