Webutuck School Garden
In 2011, the North East Community Center (NECC) partnered with the Webutuck School District in rural Dutchess County, NY, to create a garden on the school's grounds. Our goals were to teach high-school students how to grow their own food, improve the diets of children at the school (which has a high rate of poverty), and to provide teachers with an outdoor classroom. The raised-bed garden was built with the help of students and teachers, who carried out the labor, and local businesses that donated materials like lumber and soil. Three years later, students are growing a wide variety of vegetables--everything from arugula to zucchini--in the very productive beds. During the spring and fall, 7th and 8th graders in an after-school Gardening Club cultivate the garden. The harvest goes to the school cafeteria and is used to make students' lunches tastier, brighter, and more nutritious. Many children in our district have tried fresh vegetables like kale and beets for the first time because of the garden, and their reactions have been overwhemingly positive. Teachers use the garden as a place to teach science or just study outdoors in a peaceful, nurturing environment. During summer vacation, a group of teenagers in NECC's Farm and Food Education Program plants, cares for, and harvests the garden. The produce (hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, beans, squash, eggplant, greens, etc.) is donated to local families who don't have enough food, through an NECC program called Share the Bounty Fresh Food Pantry. More than 50 households received weekly boxes of free, fresh vegetables from the school garden during the 2013 summer season.
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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