Michelle Banks of Northeast Park Preschool in Florida came to our attention one day when she emailed us an utterly adorable picture of two of her students – eating carrots. Normally that’s not so note-worthy, but, well Kyla and Calvin were so darned cute, AND they were eating carrots they planted – from seed!
That carrot started as a seed from us, traveled all the way across the country, and ended up being harvested by these young little hands which then brought a huge smile to the pre-schoolers when they tasted the amazing flavor! We were so tickled by Michelle’s photo and story, we had to learn more!
Michelle and a couple of other teachers began laying the groundwork in 2013 to get their school garden where it is today. Michelle says “schools for older children have access to grants and support from clubs and organizations, but as a pre-school, most of those resources are not available to us.”
Once the garden started to come together, local businesses donated things like fencing and tools while the parents donated some weekends and afternoons to kick the garden into full swing. Fast forward about a year, and these pre-schoolers are getting a unique education through the abundance of this little garden!
For Michelle, the garden is a way to get her students to care about the environment and appreciate healthy food. She says they don’t care about the carrots that come from the cafeteria (yuk!), but when they pick one out of the garden, they eat ALL of it, “all the way down to the green nub.”
The garden is a way for them to get their hands dirty – with real dirt, not sand or street dust from the concrete. It removes them from the technology of today’s world and puts them in a more natural environment. This experience gives them a sense of “ownership” and connects them with nature so they will grow to be a “generation that loves the planet.”
Keep an eye out in our next few newsletters for more stories (like the “Kings of the Melon Patch,” or the “Savior of the Slugs”) from Michelle and her kids! At Sustainable Seed, we want to help folks (like Michelle) who are working in their community to help inspire the next generation. Michelle, and her fellow teachers, can use all the help they can get. If you’d like to contribute you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And PLEASE – if you have a story you’d like to share, let us know! We’d love to share it with our friends and gardening family. Don’t we need more good news that makes you smile?? Help us share that “good news”!