Issue: Education (Neighborhood Assist)
Year Funded: 2013
Organization: Roanoake City Schools
To educate K-12 children and the community in general about the importance of healthy food.
We have a desperate need for food education and to feed our impoverished families. A school garden can educate our students as to where their food comes from, what healthy food options are available and how to grow their own food. We are a small, rural community that has a tradition of farming, but like much of the country has a generation on the verge of losing the most basic growing skills. All three local schools are in close proximity and all three have land that can be utilized for garden space. In addition we have a local Slow Food chapter that has started one school garden in the county and with the right financial help is excited about starting others. Our garden could bring in students, parents, teachers and others interested in learning the importance of healthy food. The ultimate goal would be to use the garden to also feed the kids who receive food bags each week. Hopefully we can even encourage the schools themselves to serve locally grown foods in the lunchroom! This school garden project will have a lasting impact on our community in MANY ways not the least of which is the possibilities of whole families to become better educated on what foods they should eat. There are generations of families that now rely on fast food to provide their daily nutrition because they do not have the skills necessary to cook healthy, cost effective meals. One child who decides he wants food from a farmers market instead of McDonalds could change the whole outlook for a family. At the very least the children and teachers who take care of the garden are getting away from a computer and outside to dig in the dirt….not many children have those outdoor experiences at home. Our community is so small that when we have even the smallest project geared toward educating our kids we all tend to pay attention!