The Growing Gardens

by Kristin Clark | Apr 02, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

What more could a city provide for its children than roots and wings? A citywide network of school-based community gardens would offer both. Gardens located on various school properties throughout St. Paul and maintained by students, parents, school staff, and neighborhood volunteers, would be a center for community collaboration. Centering the gardens around schools would allow our children to engage in the process of growing fresh, local, healthy foods while interacting with each other and members of their community. School-based after school and summer programs are logical partners to sustain the gardens throughout the growing season. Organizing and cultivating a community garden would give our children a forum to develop responsibility, teamwork, leadership and service. The school-based network would afford unique curriculum opportunities in science, economics, and leadership. Through this visible gathering space, community members would be connected and serve as mentors for neighborhood youth.
In addition to community building and educational experiences, these gardens would improve physical health. Children are more likely to eat a vegetable they worked hard to grow, and incorporate these healthy choices in their future diet. The produce grown could be served at school, with any overflow donated to our St. Paul residents in need.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic seeping from a foundation of unhealthy diet and exercise behaviors. As a city we can work to reverse this trend in our own neighborhoods. With hands-on, influential experiences with healthy foods and regular exercise, we can impact eating and physical activity choices for a lifetime.
Lastly, these gardens would add to the beauty of our wonderful city. We have the land and the hands to do the work. The funding would provide resources to assure the areas chosen have rich, safe soil, adequate water, equipment, expert horticultural advice, as well as fund curriculum development.

About You

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About You

First Name

Kristin

Last Name

Clark

City

Saint Paul

County

Ramsey

Country

United States, MN, Ramsey County

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

Kirby Clark

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

Pioneer Press

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Saint Paul

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

The Growing Gardens

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

What more could a city provide for its children than roots and wings? A citywide network of school-based community gardens would offer both. Gardens located on various school properties throughout St. Paul and maintained by students, parents, school staff, and neighborhood volunteers, would be a center for community collaboration. Centering the gardens around schools would allow our children to engage in the process of growing fresh, local, healthy foods while interacting with each other and members of their community. School-based after school and summer programs are logical partners to sustain the gardens throughout the growing season. Organizing and cultivating a community garden would give our children a forum to develop responsibility, teamwork, leadership and service. The school-based network would afford unique curriculum opportunities in science, economics, and leadership. Through this visible gathering space, community members would be connected and serve as mentors for neighborhood youth.
In addition to community building and educational experiences, these gardens would improve physical health. Children are more likely to eat a vegetable they worked hard to grow, and incorporate these healthy choices in their future diet. The produce grown could be served at school, with any overflow donated to our St. Paul residents in need.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic seeping from a foundation of unhealthy diet and exercise behaviors. As a city we can work to reverse this trend in our own neighborhoods. With hands-on, influential experiences with healthy foods and regular exercise, we can impact eating and physical activity choices for a lifetime.
Lastly, these gardens would add to the beauty of our wonderful city. We have the land and the hands to do the work. The funding would provide resources to assure the areas chosen have rich, safe soil, adequate water, equipment, expert horticultural advice, as well as fund curriculum development.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Many successful community gardens exist around Saint Paul. Connecting the gardens with the schools brings the gardens directly to our youth. My proposal includes partnering with our school-based before and after school programs as well as summer programs to encourage continuous care of the garden through our growing season. Growing and maintaining the garden provides the opportunity for integration of additional hands-on experiences in to the science, economics, and leadership curriculum. I envision endless opportunities across the elementary, middle, and high school age groups. Finally, this idea impacts many- from our youth, to the community that will come together around the efforts, to anyone experiencing the beauty of the gardens.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Our youth are our future. School-based community gardens will positively impact the health and wellness of our youth. It will fuel interest in growing as well as eating healthy food while fostering teamwork and an interest in science. It provides an opportunity to interact with nature and and to productively exercise. The gardens connect families and neighbors to the schools, strengthening our local communities. Active communities experience less crime and vandalism. Finally, gardens will add to the beauty of Saint Paul.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

By putting the gardens in the schools, we have a renewable source of enthusiasm for the gardens as the new students are added each year. This is an innovative opportunity to fight the childhood obesity epidemic in our neighborhoods. We have a wealth of knowledge in our teachers and and community members with a passion for gardening and horticulture to utilize as ongoing resources and mentors. The after school and school based summer programs offer opportunity for year round student involvement with the gardens. Many communities already share the goal outcomes and the school framework of this garden endeavor. Other communities could easily tap into the wisdom developed from this St.Paul school-based garden program to start their own gardens.

chantalchantelle2013 chantalchantelle2013 said: I think it is better if you take schooling in order for you to have a better idea. - YOR Health about this Competition Entry. - 2567 days ago read more >

Kristin Clark updated this Competition Entry. - 2851 days ago

Kristin Clark updated this Competition Entry. - 2852 days ago

Kristin Clark updated this Competition Entry. - 2853 days ago

Kristin Clark submitted this idea. - 2853 days ago