Monday, October 05, 2009

Great article on youth gardening

As I was working on the initial planning stages of our own garden program for Living Histories, I came across this great article on school gardening in England - very inspirational stuff.

"Experts say introducing children to gardening at an early age helps to contribute to their mental and physical health. Teachers at Kingsway have already noticed an improvement in behaviour and concentration among their pupils.

Liam Jackson, head teacher at the school, says: "We've not quite done a full cycle yet but the children have seen the whole concept of watching, watering and nurturing vegetables – and now they've harvested them. This is so much more important than bringing in tins of food, which is what would have happened normally.

"The next stage is to get more families involved by getting them into the school. The children are very knowledgeable about vegetables – they know what they're doing now."

Amory Exhibit
Living Histories garden project with the Madison community at the Armory temporary site in 2004, Pasadena CA

Living Histories excited to be launching our own community gardening program this school year as part of our 09/10 'campaigns'. Community gardening is an issue we are passionate about. As the article in the Telegraph points out, the lessons for youth are numerous: science, ecology, health, cooking. Living Histories programs tie in themes of art, writing, & indigenous cultures and traditions as well, and most importantly, give students a hands on lesson in service learning and community improvement. Getting a garden going can always be a bit of a struggle - location, maintenance and start up materials are always an issue - but once they are established, can be a resource for youth community wide.

As one of our two 'campaigns' for the 09/10 school year, Living Histories will be launching a community garden program later on this fall, where we will teach students about gardening, sustainability, ecology, art and writing through our project based model, but will also be leading students through an entrepreneurial experience as well - showing them how to set up and run their gardens as small 'social entrepreneur' enterprises that will benefit their local communities.

We are very excited to get this up and launched in the upcoming months - check back here for more updates, and join our after school action list for the latest news!

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