Grow Local’s Spread the Harvest Resource Give-Away Day is just one of many ways that Sustainable Food Center (SFC) supports health and wellness programs in our Sprouting Healthy Kids partner schools. Teachers and parents from many of these schools came out in full force to the New Day Community Garden on Thursday, March 8, 2012, to collect plants, seeds and compost for the school gardens.
These parents and teachers have been very successful in their school garden projects thanks in part to the community organizing work of Sustainable Food Center and Marathon Kids. Through this partnership, parents and staff have formed wellness teams that address various school health issues by creating a space to talk about wellness and then accessing resources from SFC, Marathon Kids, and other community partners.
A dedicated parent leader on Norman Elementary’s wellness team collected garden resources for both her home garden and the community garden that Norman families share with St. James Episcopal Church. Since the beginning of Norman’s participation in Sprouting Health Kids (Spring 2009), members of the Norman school community have attended SFC’s Basic Organic Gardening classes, SFC’s School Garden Leadership Training, and SFC’s The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™ cooking class series.
Reilly Elementary’s wellness team designated a teacher as the school contact for garden resources. The plants, seeds, and compost he collected will be shared among teachers from several different grades who regularly engage their classes in gardening lessons. Thanks to the wellness team, some teachers have connected with parent volunteers so students can plant in small groups and enjoy a more hands-on experience. This team has also planned a family kickball league, found healthier options for after-school snacks, and hosted an SFC The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™ cooking workshop.
Pickle Elementary also has a teacher on staff who is the designated school contact for garden resources. While her energy has driven much of the garden efforts, other teachers on the team maintain their own garden plots, and she relies on the team’s help to tell others about opportunities for in-class planting, and for assistance with overall planning and maintenance. As a team, Pickle parents and staff have also invited a farmer to visit the school cafeteria, coordinated a family health night, hosted an SFC The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™ cooking class series, and started a student running club, parent walking club, and dance-based fitness class.