School gardens mix farming, nutrition
Seniors Monica Johnson (from right) and Myesha Bell, junior Timashay Hood and senior Chakena Robinson collected vegetables on Thursday in the garden outside Hogan Preparatory Academy. Photo by Garvey Scott.
One in five schools nationwide now have a garden
By Joe Robertson
The Kansas City Star
Sept. 20, 2010
Hogan Preparatory Academy’s urban farmers are gathered at school, talking about why their nutritional garden is so important.
Just then, Exhibit A unwittingly passes by. It’s a fellow student.
In her hands: a bag of Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Puffs.
They know the siren song of junk food and how hard it can be to even find healthful food in their neighborhoods and in their homes. Who would have thought they could grow it themselves?
Dozens of schools around the area are creating nutritional gardens like Hogan’s, and they’re long overdue, students said.
Some schools send produce home with kids. Many are building in science, health and math lessons. Many are turning food over to chefs in their lunch kitchens.
Hogan students tell of one reason the movement is taking hold.
“This is something we’ve done,” said Chakena Robinson, 17. “We came together. We made it schoolwide.”
The Kansas City Community Gardens school program reports it has more than 80 schools now, up from barely 10 five years ago.
The National Gardening Association estimates one in five schools nationwide now has gardens, and the number applying for the association’s grants has more than quadrupled over the same time.