PLANTING THE RAINBOW: GARDEN-BASED EDUCATION IN THE ‘SALAD BOWL’
“I’m a scientist!” the elementary school students exclaim, flanked by the greenery of the Blooming Classroom as they triumphantly wave their science worksheets above their heads. These students are beneficiaries of the innovative partnership between nonprofit Life Lab and their local school district, which connects students with science, nutrition and nature in the garden.
“Seeing the joyful engagement of thousands of students and the positive impacts on their learning, well-being and more confirms what decades of research have shown — garden classrooms are effective, vital spaces where educators bring learning to life,” says Life Lab Co-Executive Director Judit Camacho.
Life Lab has been cultivating children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education since 1979. They’ve done so through a variety of programs — leading children on field trips to gardens, hosting garden-based camps, designing scientific curricula for use in the garden, and producing publications, workshops, and more. But their partnership with Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) is something new.
“It’s all about place,” explains Camacho. Located in California’s Monterey Bay region, the students of PVUSD are growing up in the “salad bowl of the world,” a fertile agricultural region where close to half of the strawberries in the U.S. are grown. “Who grows these strawberries? Who cultivates them? Who are the farmers and the farmworkers?” Camacho asks. “This is a community that is feeding us, but the same community often does not have access to those foods.”
Read the full article at www.childrenandnature.org/