Local Schools See the Fruits of their Labor Thanks to Garden Programs

DAVID Magazine — “Hi. Buenos Dias. My name is Leon Garcia. Quien es? Wanna buy something?”

The Scofield Middle School 8th grader shares his sales pitch during a community farmer’s market on the downtown Zappos campus in November. He is one of more than 300 students, from 32 Clark County School District (CCSD) schools, selling their school garden grown produce and crafts.

While many of the elementary, middle, and high school students previously sold their produce to fellow students during farmer’s markets at school, the downtown market is a relatively new experience, piloted last May by the country’s largest school garden program, Green Our Planet.

“We wanted to let people know we’re growing food in the desert of Las Vegas,” says Sarah Russel, special projects coordinator for Green Our Planet. “It doesn’t have to be imported from Mexico or California.”

More than 120 schools throughout the district reap bountiful benefits thanks to Green Our Planet. Other local nonprofits, like Create a Change Now and Garden Farms, are also helping transform the valley’s schools into living classrooms.

These garden programs increase student test scores in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), improve student nutrition, and teach sustainability and financial literacy. Other benefits include increased student retention, access to fresh foods for low-income families, and a decrease in obesity and disease. The programs are accessible to kids of all ages, including English as a Second Language (ESL) and special needs students.

“Teachers can take what they would usually teach in the classroom and put it in a garden setting,” says Russel. “It’s not just sitting in front of a whiteboard, it’s actually getting your hands dirty.” …

Read the full article in DAVID Magazine.