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Category — Children

How This Elementary School In The Bronx Is Using Farming As A Vehicle For Change

Tucked within the poorest congressional district in America, sandwiched between the largest strip of public housing in the country, you’ll find a farm.

Emma Loewe
MBG Editorial
Nov 13, 2017


Back inside the farm, aptly named The National Health, Wellness & Learning Center, Ritz explains why he thinks growing food has led to happier, healthier kids. “When you put a seed in a little kid’s hand, you’re making them a promise that little seed is going to grow into something great that they can eat. And then they get to watch it happen.” This instills in them a sense of pride and a new interest in what they’re putting into their bodies. A lot of kids start their time at P.S. 55 not knowing that food comes from the ground at all, but they all leave with an understanding of every part of the growing process.

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November 20, 2017   No Comments

The Power of a Plant: A Teacher’s Odyssey to Grow Healthy Minds and Schools

In The Power of a Plant, globally acclaimed teacher and self-proclaimed CEO (Chief Eternal Optimist) Stephen Ritz shows you how, in one of the nation’s poorest communities, his students thrive in school and in life by growing, cooking, eating, and sharing the bounty of their green classroom.

By Stephen Ritz (Author)
Rodale Books (May 2, 2017)
304 pages
(Must see. Mike)


What if we taught students that they have as much potential as a seed? That in the right conditions, they can grow into something great?

These are the questions that Stephen Ritz?who became a teacher more than 30 years ago?sought to answer in 2004 in a South Bronx high school plagued by rampant crime and a dismal graduation rate. After what can only be defined as a cosmic experience when a flower broke up a fight in his classroom, he saw a way to start tackling his school’s problems: plants. He flipped his curriculum to integrate gardening as an entry point for all learning and inadvertently created an international phenomenon. As Ritz likes to say, “Fifty thousand pounds of vegetables later, my favorite crop is organically grown citizens who are growing and eating themselves into good health and amazing opportunities.”

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November 14, 2017   No Comments

Bill Clinton visits urban farm in St. Louis

Former President Bill Clinton greets visitors to the Good Life Growing urban farm in St. Louis.

“What this school is doing for these kids will benefit this area 20 years from now,” he said.

By Blythe Bernhard
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Nov 1, 2017


Schoolchildren grow kale, cabbage and other produce in their outdoor garden. They eat fresh fruit and vegetables at breakfast and lunch. At fitness stations, they roll dice to get assigned different exercises and repetitions.

Healthy diet and exercise habits “make (students) feel empowered and less likely to act on frustrations,” Clinton told reporters at the event.

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November 7, 2017   Comments Off on Bill Clinton visits urban farm in St. Louis

Canada: Vancouver students dig in for Farm to School month

Jenna Jaski of Victory Gardens Vancouver helps facilitate the Classroom Gardener program at East Van’s David Livingstone elementary school. The program is one of many across the city that aim to get students out of classrooms and into the garden and the kitchen. Photo by Dan Toulgoet.

Every class gets to spend time in the garden and by the end of the year-long session, every student will have had a chance to experience all the facets of the garden.

By Jessica Kerr
Vancouver Courier
Oct 23, 2017


“Teachers are looking for ways to get kids learning outside because they need to get kids moving and there’s a ton of benefit for children’s physical health being outside,” she said, adding that being outside also has mental health benefits.

“We see huge numbers of children struggling with anxiety in school, so how do we take them outside? Because being outside is very protective against mental health problems in children.”

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October 27, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Vancouver students dig in for Farm to School month

Salad days at Toronto inner-city school

Student Josh Harrison-Maul poses for a photo on the rooftop garden at Eastdale C.I. on Gerrard St. E., near Broadview Ave. (Ernest Doroszuk, Toronto Sun)

Tyler Beckett wants to be a landscaper and the urban farming program on the roof of his inner-city school has greened his thumb.

By Kevin Connor
Toronto Sun
October 15, 2017


“It’s helping get me prepare for a job when I’m done school,” said the 16-year-old Eastdale Collegiate Institute student in the Regent Park area.

“I like getting involved with the garden and helping the kids in school. We used to go to the corner and buy chips, now we are eating salads.”

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October 21, 2017   Comments Off on Salad days at Toronto inner-city school

In Washington School Gardens Are No Longer A Rarity

Rooftop Garden at Horace Mann Elementary School: After leafy vegetables are planted and cared for, students harvest the crops, chop them up and serve them to more than 400 of their peers for lunch.

By Rachel Nania
October 8, 2017


Jagodnik’s third-floor classroom, which is filled with seedlings and outfitted with a small kitchen, opens directly to the school’s rooftop garden. It’s there where a class of third-graders pick parsley and pak choi from commercial-grade garden towers on Monday mornings.

Architect Michael Marshall designed the rooftop farm, one of several gardens at Horace Mann, during the school’s renovation three years ago.

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October 15, 2017   Comments Off on In Washington School Gardens Are No Longer A Rarity

How school gardens, food ‘rescues’ are helping Nevada’s hungry

On Oct. 7, the Grow Your Own festival returns to the Vegas Roots urban farm for a second year, aiming to get the community in touch with healthy food.

The Vegas Roots team offered a taste of what the second year of the festival will teach — namely, how to connect with and crave raw goods from the garden.

By Adam Candee, Erin Ryan, Camalot Todd
Las Vegas Sun
Oct. 2, 2017


To kids who’d never tried fresh strawberries or cantaloupe before a recent school tasting, kale was a hard sell. But after growing the deep-green stalks in their campus garden, students at Quannah McCall Elementary School in North Las Vegas learned that massaging the leaves makes them less bitter, and that dressing whipped up from the cilantro growing nearby makes them delicious.

Principal Ana DeBeauvernet recalls a lot of demand from parents for the recipe. It was a shining moment for everyone who envisioned the raised beds and fruit trees along the school’s street-facing fence as a way to engage the neighborhood in a new way of thinking about cooking and eating. It’s in a noted food desert, meaning the only options are gas stations and fast-food joints.

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October 3, 2017   Comments Off on How school gardens, food ‘rescues’ are helping Nevada’s hungry

India: Students create organic vegetable garden in school

Students and teachers of Marudhamalai Devasthanam Higher Secondary School, Vadavalli, at their organic vegetable garden on school premises. Click image to see larger file.

Sharing their experience, the students said that the farming taught them the hardships of farmers and motivated them to contribute their part to society.

By S. Pavith Valsel
The Hindu
Sept 7, 2017


Started in June, the students cultivate spinach, tomato, ladies finger, pumpkin, bottle guard, coriander and lettuce among others in the organic vegetable garden. They do mixed cropping and crop rotation to retain the fertility of the soil.

Produces of the vegetable garden are used to provide lunch for the students. There has been days when students were able to take home their produces too.

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September 18, 2017   Comments Off on India: Students create organic vegetable garden in school

California: Fairview Gardens’ After-School Program Invites Youth to Unplug, Dig Deep into the Natural World

For the budding naturalist, chef, gardener, or animal lover, Fairview Gardens After School Program is the place to grow.

By Emmalia Sutherland
Sept 6, 2017


Q: Describe a favorite activity for children in your program.

A: Harvesting farmed and wild foods to turn into yummy snacks with both programs is always a hit. Whether it be building forts, making art, or taking care of our chickens during Farm Days or making herbal salves with the Teen Apprentices, Fairview has something for everyone!

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September 16, 2017   Comments Off on California: Fairview Gardens’ After-School Program Invites Youth to Unplug, Dig Deep into the Natural World

Australia: ‘Dads and Dirt’ program digging into stronger father-child relationships

Mr Harrison believes getting your hands dirty and working closely with nature brings out the best in blokes. (Supplied: Taree Community Garden )

He said he believes his programs have inspired men to open up and engage, not only with their children but other like-minded men.

By Gabrielle Lyons
ABC Mid North Coast
Sept 1, 2017


Mr Harrison maintains the Taree Community Garden on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

He runs a program in the garden called ‘Dads and Dirt’ aimed at getting men to better connect with their kids in a hands-on environment.

Some of the men in Mr Harrison’s programs are single dads, widowers or suffering with mental health issues.

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September 6, 2017   Comments Off on Australia: ‘Dads and Dirt’ program digging into stronger father-child relationships

Ugly Vegetables

It’s easy to appreciate a garden exploding with colorful flowers and fragrances, but what do you do with a patch of ugly vegetables?

By Grace Lin (Author, Illustrator)
The (Ages 3-8)
Charlesbridge; (July 1 2001)


From Publishers Weekly:

In this debut children’s book, a girl and her mother chart their own course in spring planting and reap the benefits. The girl narrator is clearly disappointed when, unlike her neighbors who prepare flower gardens, she and her mother plant Chinese vegetables that, her mother insists, are “better than flowers.” While the other backyards yield colorful blooms, her garden becomes crowded with “ugly vegetables,” lumpy, bumpy and “icky yellow.” But when the girl’s mother uses them to make a soup, its “magical aroma” attracts neighbors to their door carrying bouquets of flowers from their gardens.

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August 30, 2017   Comments Off on Ugly Vegetables

United Nations FAO event on community gardens and urban food production

Watch the event.

See the 137 minute video of the full event at the UN in New York City.

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August 10, 2017   Comments Off on United Nations FAO event on community gardens and urban food production

Columbus, Ohio: How about books and berries for breakfast?

4th Street Farms gathers for story time and sharing of food grown in the Weinland Park community garden.

By Anne Evans
Columbus Underground
June 9, 2016
( From: Little Free Library to be Dedicated in Weinland Park)


“Part of our mission at 4th Street Farms is education and empowerment,” says Evelyn Van Til, a neighborhood civic leader and community organizer. “Books are a big piece of opening up worlds of possibility. This project builds on our work in empowering people to grow their own food and choose their own paths.”

Van Til has been involved with programming offered to residents of Weinland Park, including a series of early literacy programs held at 4th Street Farms, in partnership with A Good Start.

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July 31, 2017   Comments Off on Columbus, Ohio: How about books and berries for breakfast?

Students across Canada use “space” tomato seeds to investigate the effects of outer space on seed germination

The award-winning Tomatosphere™ program has engaged more than three million students since its inception in 2001.

From their website.


In the spring, participating classrooms receive two packages of tomato seeds. One package contains seeds sent into space or treated in space-simulated conditions. The other contains untreated “control” seeds. Students plant the seeds and conduct experiments to explore the effects of the space environment on the germination of tomatoes. Through Tomatosphere™, students learn how to conduct a scientific experiment and compare the number of seeds that germinate for the two groups of seeds.

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June 18, 2017   Comments Off on Students across Canada use “space” tomato seeds to investigate the effects of outer space on seed germination

Israel: Ultra-Orthodox kids grow a green thumb in ‘mitzvah’ gardens

The gardens, like this one in Modiin Ilit on March 22, 2017, follow the commandment of kilayim, which requires that each species is planted a certain distance from the other. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

“We’re in a city, we’re not in a moshav or village where we’re exposed to the ideas of orchards and gardens,” Rivkie added.

By Melanie Lidman
The Times of Israel
June 11, 2017


Families have also gotten into the spirit of the garden. As a year-end gift, Rivkie gave each student a mint plant to grow at home and use for the end-of-Shabbat Havdalah service, which makes use of a pleasant-smelling herb. Rivkie said one girl’s family grew so much mint they gave cuttings to their relatives, and now the whole extended family uses their own mint.

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June 16, 2017   Comments Off on Israel: Ultra-Orthodox kids grow a green thumb in ‘mitzvah’ gardens