Feed Fannin believes that the love of gardening and eating healthy, garden grown foods is something that should be passed on from generation to generation. That’s why we support youth garden programs in our schools.
An example of that support in action is the gardening program at Blue Ridge Elementary School (BRES). In 2015 a generous grant from Feed Fannin allowed the program to be integrated into the school experience school-wide for students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
The 21 raised bed gardens at BRES provide students with a working knowledge and appreciation of the skills required to grow fresh vegetables and fruits, along with a deeper understanding of the importance of food in building a healthy lifestyle. Not only do children get to plant, tend, pick and eat fresh vegetables as part of their garden class sessions, but the garden program also provides vegetables for several school cafeteria meals a year.
Kate George, a teacher at BRES and a Feed Fannin member, heads the school’s garden club and has been involved with the school’s program since the beginning. She reports that the children in the program have shown an increased enthusiasm for the fresh vegetables they helped to grow and harvest.
She says: “The children now devour kale, spinach and arugula. This past year we began to grow kale and spinach for healthy snacking and to make smoothies and kale chips. Both received a huge positive response from the students involved. Parents tells us that their children are eating more vegetables at home and requesting vegetables they hadn’t wanted before. The cafeteria team reports that children take and eat more salads when they know the greens are from the school gardens. BRES students are inquisitive and eager to try different vegetables because they now know how delicious produce can be when fresh. In addition, at the urging from inspired children, families are installing gardens at their homes. From the ground up, we are changing the fresh food experience of a generation of children, their families and the community.”
Volunteers are an essential part of this innovative program. They help with bed preparation, planting and weeding, and assist with teaching the garden-based curriculum to students. They also assist with fundraising, curriculum development, and event coordination. Several volunteers work with the weekly garden club programs at BRES.
Kate says that without Feed Fannin’s financial support and volunteer assistance the BRES garden program would not be possible.
Check out our Volunteer Opportunities to help Feed Fannin make a difference in the lives of our children.