You can grow your own food. And we can help!

Sprouting Success: Judy's Story

Jun 13, 2014

This past winter, with temperatures dropping below zero, nearly 300 students at four 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC) programs were planting seeds, making salsa, and eating fresh salads in their classrooms. The 21CCLC programs are in Anchorage’s lowest-income neighborhoods - areas with high poverty and few affordable after-school alternatives. They also serve high proportions of English Language Learners, immigrant, homeless, and Alaska Native families.

These words are from Judy Shero, the Coordinator at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School (ANCCS), one of the four 21CCLC programs participating in the indoor gardening program.

The 21CCLC partnership with the Alaska Botanical Garden created an environment in our program where students and staff alike experienced hands-on activities not available anywhere else. We watched in amazement as plants sprouted and grew. We tasted greens and other plants grown through student and staff efforts. We got our hands dirty and loved it!! Personally, I discovered that my thumb is not nearly so "black" as I had believed. Tomato plants started during the year are producing deliciously sweet tiny tomatoes. Who knew?? I can grow something!!

This photo shows youth having a bok choy and nasturtium eating contest, trying the greens for the first time!

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