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All Star Cardinal Garden Dreams

Oscar Cavazos,   William C Calk Elem School
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement, Student Leadership, Success with Funds,  Teamwork
All Star Cardinal Garden Dreams

Our Play was Farm to School. Our main goals in our gardens are team work, access to healthy foods, student leadership, success with funds, and awareness of dairy nutrition and diet. With the help of some of our parents along with Mrs. Perabo, Mrs. Massey and Coach Cavazos, the students had hands on experience. They were taught how to clean up the gardens, how to remove weeds, adding new soil, and planting new vegetable seeds in the garden. Throughout the Play they were given the responsibility to water the gardens, remove weeds, check for bugs and damages to the garden and look for ripened vegetables. They assisted in the everyday maintenance of the gardens. They have also been involved in researching and choosing recipes to make with the vegetables from the gardens while also putting a huge emphasis on the use of dairy products.  

We educate the students, faculty, and parents about the healthy lifestyle one can achieve by growing and using their own vegetables. They are also educated on how to care for their garden and they learned that their garden is a reflection of how much time and effort they put into it. We incorporated dairy products in caring and maintaining our gardens. When working in our gardens, we substituted Gatorade with milk to keep our students hydrated. With the vegetables from our garden we made dips and smoothies which we used milk, cheese, sour cream and yogurt as the main ingredients. We also drank milk with our samples of the dips and smoothies we made. 

In addition to implementing the gardens, our Play is sustainable because we are able to keep up with it all year long. We monitor the vegetables so that as they become ripe, we can pick them so that way the plant can produce more. In this process we can also look for signs of trouble in the vegetables so those parts can be cared for or removed. Together we all have already set the dates to plant in the summer and fall. We have a schedule for students and volunteers to come by, to water and care for the gardens. 

Our students really took charge of their gardens this year. We had a problem with getting some of the materials we need to plant our gardens. Our students asked for donations and helped sell t-shirts. With the money that we had, we went to our local nurseries to get the best deals on supplies. A number of our students took charge and became leaders in growing our gardens. I enjoyed watching our students work together to have a successful garden. I know for a fact that our students took what they learned home to create their own family gardens. Thank you Fuel up to Play 60 for the motivation to drink more milk and create these great gardens. Calk-Wilson Elementary appreciates everything you do for us.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

We faced a couple of challenges for our gardens. First it was funding; our students had a discussion on how to get money to fund the supplies we needed for our garden. So they decided to sell t-shirts, ask for donations, and donate some of their own money. Another challenge we came across was monitoring our gardens at night and on the weekends. We relied on our neighborhood to look out for the best interest of our students and our gardens. We have already applied for some grants for our future.

What improvements have you seen at your school?

Our students are growing up right in front of us. We are excited about the improvements at our school. The students have learned to be more respectful, be independent, be more active, and also be more productive in the classroom. They all became better leaders in the process. Our students have been more attentive in class which has led to better scores and behavior. Thank you Fuel Up to Play 60 and National Dairy Council. We appreciate everything you do for us.