Kathryn Winn Environmental Gardens
While the gardens are the cornerstone of the Kathryn Winn Environmental Gardens, the program has additional facets as well. A cafeteria recycling program that has grown into a school-wide recycling movement is a complementary piece. The food scraps from the cafeteria are composted using a vermicomposting system (worms!) located by the gardens.
The gardens are comprised of raised beds created with landscaping timbers in order to expand the amount of soil for cultivation. Students have planted, cared for, and harvested fruits and vegetables from the gardens, which include two raised beds, woolly gardens, and a traditional small garden. For vermicomposting, students lead Green Teams to assist with collecting food scraps in the cafeteria. Additionally, students participate in gardening clubs during the regular school year as well as in summer months. The summer program allows for parent participation as well.
One goal of the program is to give every student the chance to be responsible for growing and caring for his or her own plant. Many students have never witnessed the process of the life cycle and have never been able to eat fresh garden produce. 20.6% of children in Carroll County live in poverty (2012 Kentucky County Data Book). Additionally, according to a community assessment, thirty-eight percent of all pregnant women in Carroll County smoked during their pregnancy, which is even higher than the high state rate of twenty-six percent. Of Carroll County mothers enrolled in WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), forty-nine percent reported poor nutrition practices. Forty-three percent of Carroll County adults lack adequate physical activity. While participating in the program, students often share that they haven’t eaten fresh tomatoes, carrots or cucumbers before doing so from one of the program’s gardens. Clearly there is a need for effective environmental education based around health and science standards.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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