Eastern Shore Food Lab

School Garden Initiative

A food desert is defined as an area, especially one with low-income residents, that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food.

In 2010, nearly 30% of Kent county residents were living in a USDA-classified food desert, with the number projected to increase in the coming years. Residents lack a steady supply of nutritious food. A large percentage of this population includes school-age children. Children are crucial elements of the nutrition crisis, not only because they are especially at risk in terms of malnutrition related health complications; but also because, as is frequently stated, “children are the future” — any hope of change lies within the youth.

Vision

A small, student-tended garden will be planted in a public space or learning environment with interactive lessons presented on gardening, sustainability, and healthy eating. Students engaged will not only learn basic gardening practices, but also how to make healthy eating choices — information they can carry through life as well as bring back to their families. They may also learn basic cooking practices through trips to the ESFL.

Long-term Goals

  • Establish a garden club in which students may tend to a campus garden
  • Incorporate edible landscaping across school campus
  • Develop system in which students may bring harvested foods home
  • Host trips to ESFL for students to learn how to make meals using food from their garden
  • Explore indoor greenhouses/aquaponics to ensure year-round growth
  • Incorporate composting element to reduce waste

First Steps

  • Establish relationship with administrators and determine viable area on school campus or accessible public property
  • Give preliminary lesson to students in regards to purpose and benefits of campus garden