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Program Post: Nothing Says Farm to School Like a School Garden!

Planting Seedling

Each Thursday, ASAP’s programs take you behind the scenes of their work. This week, our Growing Minds program talks about, well, growing—gardens and minds!

And Then It's Spring

“…and it is still brown, but a hopeful, very possible sort of brown.”

‘Tis the season to get out in the garden, especially the school garden! School’s spring beds have already sprouted quick-growing veggies like radishes and perennial herbs back and hardy from a previous year’s planting.

Kindergartners at Hall Fletcher Elementary in Asheville recently enjoyed a special treat when Chef William Dissen from the Market Place restaurant led them in making garden-fresh pizzas. Students started the lesson with a trip outside to the school garden where they learned about what vegetables and herbs need to grow and planted garlic chives (which will be harvested before they leave for summer break). They harvested oregano from their herb garden and went back inside to make their very own pizza creations!

This is just one example of how area educators are using school gardens as outdoor classrooms. Here at Growing Minds, we know that lessons learned in these outdoor classrooms are no different than lessons learned within the classroom walls. For teachers, we offer help tying garden lessons to Common Core/Essential Standards.

Educators: make sure you check out Growing Minds’ school garden lesson plans. Need seeds? Come by the ASAP office. We have lots of Sow True Seeds (generously donated!) to share: lettuce, turnips, kale, and more. How about ideas of what to do in the garden? Got you covered. Check out This Week in the Garden, a weekly activity sheet (loaded with info like recipes, children’s literature, journal ideas); it also serves as a newsletter (available in Publisher format) that you can send home to families to share what is growing in your school garden.

Don’t have a school garden or need new ideas? Attend our quarterly school garden meeting (next one to be hosted this fall), held at a different school or preschool in the Buncombe County area. The best way to find out about this meeting is to sign up for our Educator Monthly (while you’re at the link, you can sign up for other ASAP communications, too).

If you like reading about school gardens, make sure to check out the Local Food Guide for Kids. School gardens in Buncombe/Asheville City, Henderson, Haywood, and Jackson counties are highlighted there.

We hope that children are happy to be out in the garden this—and any—time of the year, enjoying all kinds of new experiences and tastes. We’d love to hear what you or your children are up to in the school garden. What new vegetable are you/they growing this year? If you’re an educator, how are you engaging the community in your efforts? If you send us stories or photos, we’d be happy to post to our website or maybe share in a future Program Post. Happy gardening!

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