Guest blogger explains the power of school gardens
Published Wednesday, June 22, 2011 3:22PM EDT
A garden in every school.
This is a dream with the potential for reality thanks to people like Sunday Harrison. Read her message below and enjoy our Canada AM video to learn more about her work and that of many other committed volunteers and support staff.
Imagine well fed children, many from families that can barely afford to eat, never mind 'eat well.'
Imagine kids picking food from a garden that they planted and tended.
Imagine the laughter and fun as each of them discovers the magic of the soil -- together.
Then watch the video and imagine no longer.
I have the greatest respect for Sunday and people like her.
Following is a guest blog written by Sunday Harrison:
I'm a long-time fan of Mark Cullen and his no-nonsense approach to getting everyone comfortable with gardening. He's a great supporter of organic and children's gardens, so it was a huge honour to host him at the Winchester School Community Garden, where I've been gardening for 10 years with students from kindergarten to Grade 8. Our not-for-profit, charitable organization Green Thumbs Growing Kids was created and developed through our relationship to this school, using the unusually large garden for summer programs. Our mission is to help children and youth grow and eat their own healthy foods -- and to work with teachers to tie it all into curriculum in science, language, math, art and the environment.
Having Mark visit the garden with the Canada AM crew was of course so exciting for the children. While we fretted over the weeds in the shoot, the seven-year-olds expounded on their love of the garden and hammed it up for the camera.
Green Thumbs Growing Kids has expanded to other local schools in our area, where children are growing up in high rise apartments. We see our work as part of the movement for better school food with more locally grown options, and we aim to provide culturally relevant foods to many newcomer families.
Ontario schools used to have gardens that fed students, teachers and families, so school gardens are really nothing new. What's new is the crisis in children's nutrition and lack of physical activity, with obesity and diabetes at epidemic proportions. Our work brings together the movement for healthy eating with the greening of schools and other institutions working towards a healthy environment. That's why we believe there should be a garden in every school, and we're working on that in very real ways. We invite you to join us and make a difference!
Executive Director, Green Thumbs Growing Kids
For more info on Sunday Harrison's program, click here