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Park Elementary School Garden
As part of Anne Arundel County’s Brooklyn Park Revitalization effort, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation and Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning partnered with Recreation and Parks, Department of Health and Grow Annapolis to implement a school gardening project at Park Elementary School. This effort is made possible by a true collaboration of county resources.
“Many children do not have access to healthy foods, County Executive Leopold said. “Belonging to a garden club will provide access to fresh healthy fruits and vegetables for our children and their families. It is our hope that these children will make better food choices and will benefit from the good health that is gained from a lifestyle of healthy eating”.
The Park Elementary School Garden Project offers at-risk students and their families an after school activity and summer program that will teach them to grow and harvest food from a garden, and learn to apply healthy eating habits in their lives. The program encourages community members, families, and siblings to participate with the children as they become more actively involved in the project. This is important as more the 85% of the children at Park Elementary School receive free or reduced meals. Many families do not have access to health fresh produce.
Gardening nurtures and builds respect and understanding for nature and the environment, and at the same time motivates kids to eat fresh nutritious vegetables, and take them home to share with their families. When kids have taken a role in growing and harvesting food in their own garden, they are more likely to try the vegetables they have produced. The program provides hands-on experience and promotes physical and outdoor activities. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to plant, grow, maintain and harvest a vegetable garden through the after school and summer program. The program will also incorporate guest speakers to teach on various lessons such as gardening, health eating/cooking, nutrition, obesity and other related topics.
A Youth Garden Grant ($500) was received from the National Garden Association, Kids Gardening Club. Additional funds have been received from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health.