Godwin Heights elementary students are cultivating fruits, herbs and veggies for their families in a new school garden, thanks to a partnership with local non-profit, Hope Gardens.
Between the corridors of West Godwin Elementary is a courtyard area. Last spring, it was all pavement and grass. Now, it’s brimming with sunflowers, zucchini, watermelons, carrots, and cucumbers.
The garden is a collaboration between West Godwin’s TEAM 21 after school program and HOPE Gardens, a Wyoming-based nonprofit that teaches students in grades K through 12 sustainable ways to grow food.
HOPE Gardens founders Rich and Julie Brunson visit the school every other week and work with students to maintain the garden and harvest food that they can take home to share with their families.
On their first day in the garden, students hunted enthusiastically for the perfect piece to take home, sampled watermelon and cucumbers, chewed on mint leaves, and learned about sunflowers from Julie, who directs operation for HOPE Gardens.
While HOPE Gardens is doing similar work in other districts, this garden is the first of its kind in Godwin Heights Public Schools.
Julie said that besides the obvious benefits of teaching students to garden and providing fresh produce, there is another benefit to having a garden at school: the dirt contains microorganisms that can mimic the antidepressant effects of certain pharmaceuticals. Students don’t always realize it, said Julie, but this is their happy place.
For School News Network, I’m Bridie Bereza