Educational Gardens

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A major component of working to build community food security is education on where our food comes and how it grows.  This allows people to know more about fruits and vegetables and also have the skills to grow food themselves, should they choose.

Educational gardens can be extraordinary tools for adults and children alike.  In a diverse urban environment, community members may have a wealth of knowledge to share on gardening and farming, whether they learned it growing up in Worcester, or have come here from another country where it was a part of their everyday life.  For others, they have never pulled a carrot out of the dirt or watched tomatoes sprout and grow tall.  Really understanding the connections between how and where our food is grown and how it nourishes our body is vital in our world today.

The Worcester Educational (WE) Garden

For these reasons amongst others, Hunger-Free & Healthy has partnered with the Regional Environmental Council (REC) to implement educational gardens.  In 2009, members of REC’s YouthGROW program built an educational demonstration garden at the Fanning Building of the Worcester Public Schools.  The Fanning Building houses the Adult Learning Center, where staff have eagerly become involved in intergrating their classes into the garden.  During the winter months, new community organizations came on board, including Lutheran Social Services and New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.  With their leadership, a winter growing project took place where cold-hardy crops were planted in late fall and grew throughout the winter.  This Spring they’re being harvested for sale in the Artichoke Co-op!

School Gardens

The growing success of the WE Garden, as well as the local and national movement around school gardens, inspired Hunger-Free & Healthy to expand the educational garden component of its work to more Worcester Public Schools.  In partnership with REC, they were able to hire a School Gardens Associate who will work with five Worcester Public Schools to build and implement gardens as well as develop resources and curriculum for teachers.

For more information please contact Stacie Brimmage, School Garden Associate at schoolgardens@recworcester.org or 508-799-9139.

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