Daily News Archive
From November 29, 2006                                                                                                        

Schoolyard Gardens Considered Valuable Educational Tools
(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2006) Educators throughout San Joaquin Valley, California, are talking about the educational benefits of schoolyard gardens. According to the teachers, schoolyard gardens offer students lessons in ecology, nutrition, sustainable agriculture and other subjects.

Affording students the opportunity to dig, prune and pick are equally important, the teachers report, especially for those children growing up in urban neighborhoods. Edible schoolyards are a teaching concept that has begun to grow across the country. They provide a “seed to table” teaching lesson that allows students the opportunity to bond with the natural world (See PAY). As a result more and more schools are adding edible schoolyard gardens to their teaching curriculums.

According to a 2002 survey from the California Department of Education and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, roughly 3,000 schools in the state manage campus gardens. The principals at many of these schools feel that the gardens help enhance academic instruction. According to a teacher, Earlie Fox, at the El Dorado Elementary School, he wants his students to learn how to grow things that they can eat without using pesticides.

Some of the produce grown by the students, including garlic and bok choy, is being served on the school’s salad bar. Mr. Fox said that in the future the program will expand to other sustainable practices, the students are going to attempt to bake bread in solar ovens. According to seventh-grader Kino Codner, “If this schoolyard garden experiment goes well, my parents won’t need to buy anymore garlic.”

TAKE ACTION: Incorporate an edible schoolyard garden and get your school to go organic! For more information on the growing nationwide trend on schools going organic, and steps that you can take to get your school to serve organic food, see the January/February edition of the School Pesticide Monitor.