One of the best things you can do to help protect our planet is to pass on sustainable practices to the next generation. Children really are like sponges, and starting to teach them green habits early in life will increase their chances of not only living a sustainable lifestyle as adults, but taking a leadership role in conserving resources and preserving our planet.
This is why gardens have been sprouting up in many schools across the nation. It is great to see that public schools are recognizing that teaching children sustainable practices shouldn’t be confined to the home sphere, but should make a presence in all aspects in life. By implementing school gardening programs, school are saying to kids that taking care of our planet is important, just like learning how to read, write, add, and subtract.
Seattle Tilth is an organization whose mission is to “inspire and educate people to safeguard our natural resources while building an equitable and sustainable local food system.” This group is dedicated to teaching kids and adults in the community how to compost, grow their own food (sustainably), raise livestock like bees, goats, and chickens, and conserve natural resources. Seattle Tilth offers a variety of classes including garden and farm education for children.
Seattle Tilth also offers Garden Educator Training, where teachers can learn the basics of organic gardening and techniques for outdoor education. The training focuses on teaching educators how to tie in gardening activities with the school curriculum.
School gardens offer many benefits to schools. Not only a great education tool for teaching children sustainable practices, but the food that is grown in these gardens can go straight to the cafeteria. In this way, school gardens can ensure that students are getting whole foods that haven’t been treated with herbicides and pesticides, can reduce carbon emissions from transportation, and can save money.
For the schools that have already begun to implement school gardening programs—way to go! Now it is important that these schools brag, I mean, share their techniques, ideas, and activities with other educators so that more schools can start getting down in the dirt.