Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Will a plan to put produce in schoolyards take root?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?

In that old English nursery rhyme, the answer is ‘with silver bells and cockle shells’…but in Montgomery County schools--the garden gate has been kept shut. And one group wants to change that.

Check out a video discussion with Montgomery Victory Gardens' Gordon Clark.

Gordon Clark, with Montgomery Victory Gardens is trying to establish a program where kids grow their own produce.

“An awful lot of people, particularly children, don’t even know where there food comes from anymore.”

Clark says there’s also a health component. Clark cites the high rate of childhood obesity and diabetes tied to poor eating habits. Clark is convinced, “The best way to get a kid try a vegetable or fruit is to have them help grow it. Guarantee they’ll put it in their mouth.”

Montgomery County Public School spokesman Dana Tofig says the school system is not anti-garden. But Tofig says there are several issues that make establishing gardens problematic; food allergies among some children, the possibility that produce left in the garden could attract vermin, and there’s the matter of who would tend to the produce over the summer when school is not in session.

Clark has an answer for that last one: “Having local communities participate with schools in establishing vegetable gardens is a great way to get the community involved-- and to make sure they’re tended over the summer when school may not be in session.”

Clark says his group, Montgomery Victory Gardens, has contacted school officials and will meet with them later this month. He’s optimistic something can be worked out. “There’s no food more delicious and nutritious, than the stuff you grow yourself.”

Putting the Gardens in Kindergartens... from kate ryan on Vimeo.

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