Several months ago UBLA was engaged by the Green Education Foundation (GEF) to help develop their ‘garden as a teaching tool‘ segment. Our work with the GEF involved creating a series of scalable, turn-key gardens that could easily be built with volunteers.
This project has really got our wheels spinning, because it touches on our passion for good design and how it can instill a bond with the outdoors, unite a school or community, and change people’s lives for the better. In today’s world, the average child watches 4+ hours of television per day, eats a diet full of high fat, sugar and salt, and is completely reliant on their parents for driving them from place to place in an automobile based society. These problems (and many others to lengthy to list) have led to an explosion of obesity and diabetes and a huge disconnect with the natural environment.
- Enhanced learning opportunities through ‘hands on’ involvement. There are many creative ways in which Science, History, Mathematics and other subjects can be incorporated into the garden.
- Children establish many of their eating habits and preferences from K-8. They are more likely to try a new food if they are involved in growing and preparing it. Further, it has been documented that children’s fruit and vegetable intake increases by 2.5 servings per day when they are involved in an edible garden project.
- Children utilize creative play and independent problem solving not found in the traditional asphalt-oriented play yard.
- Establish a sense of environmental stewardship – a bond with nature they may take with them throughout life.
- Community involvement: through scheduled work days, functions held in the garden, fundraising and volunteer involvement, a thriving School Garden can become the heart and soul of the school.
The possibilities for this type of project are seemingly endless, and for the garden to be successful, there are many moving parts. Identifying and involving all of the stakeholders at the inception of the project is key to it’s longevity. In the coming months we will feature a series of blog posts about our work with the Green Education Foundation, gardening methods, design, and curriculum ideas.
Stay tuned or contact us for more information!