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Gardening for the Wildcat Community

Stacey Wright,   Youngblood Intermediate School
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement, Student Leadership,  Teamwork
Gardening for the Wildcat Community
Fifty of our 6th grade Gifted and Talented students have been working collaboratively throughout this school year to maintain and grow produce at the Alief Community Garden across the street from our school. We established the garden seven years ago, in collaboration with Alief Super Neighborhoods, with a generous grant from International District found by State Representative Hubert Vo. Students produce food that is pesticide free, as that’s a requirement of our Community. Our harvest of green beans and assorted lettuces have proven to be very abundant his year. Students feel empowered producing healthy food that they get to enjoy along with providing food from our Communities in Schools Office which distributes the fresh produce to local area families in need.

How did students and adults work together as a team?

Students and adults have collaborated in terms of what to plant, when to plant it, and general decorum for working together within the community. Adults have cheered on and promoted good team work. Students took individual responsibilities of growing specific types of produce. Adults assisted with the cooking preparations, time management and logistics.

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

We have had occasional problems with birds eating the seeds we plant. With a little online research, our students determined that birds avoid things that move and that are shiny. With recycled items, a number of bird deterrents were created and installed in our garden plot.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

Students that are fed seem to keep coming back for more! It was a wonderful sight having 50 kids munching on Teriyaki Green Beans and coming back for more. We take lots of pictures and try to stay active in promoting our efforts. Students enjoy being outdoors, and seem to look for plenty of opportunities to work outside. As for beyond this school year, we will continue to promote healthy eating and working outdoors as a means to develop character and a sense of community.