A few weeks I participated in a tour of school gardens. The gardens were, of course, beautiful and inspiring. What they had in common was adding a richness to the educational experience of the students. Much of the work in the garden incorporated math, science and team building exercises. In this way the lessons come alive for the students much more than if they are simply reading about something.
Some of them were run by paid coordinators, some by parents and some by teachers. And the gardens are part of a larger program called Farm to School, designed to educate kids about healthy, unprocessed foods and to teach them where food comes from.
One of the schools had a scratch kitchen where food from the garden was prepared and offered for lunches. Most schools only warm up food that is prepared elsewhere at a distribution center.
Some of the gardens were funded with grants, some with fundraisers, some by PTA money. Many of them have artwork adorning the garden spaces.
One of the gardens was created on a de-paved black top area, and shares the space with a community garden, where neighbors and parents can tend small plots.
What all of the gardens have in common was dedicated, passionate people who saw the value in exposing kids to the miracles of growing some of your own food and giving the kids a sense of their place in the natural world.