The Achieve Center at Richey is a small elementary school for students who have behavior or emotional challenges. Every month, they receive the youth nutrition curriculum, YUM, and as of this month, they finally got their gardens installed! Each student got to plant cover crop seeds, such as buckwheat, iron clay cowpeas, and Sudan grass, with the help of the Family Nutrition Program’s Farm to School Coordinator, who helped the school obtain the donated cover crop seeds, order their garden supplies, and put the garden beds together. These cover crops will protect the soil over the summer, ensuring good quality soil for when they are ready to plant vegetables in the fall. According to research, school gardens improve students’ outlooks on the environment, school, and healthy eating, and increases self-esteem, test scores, social skills, and conduct (Hofreiter, 2014). We hope the students enjoy their garden and benefit from this hands-on learning experience. For Title I schools wanting to learn how to get a free garden from the Family Nutrition Program, please call Shari Bresin at 813-929-2725 or email Sbresin@ufl.edu.
Hofreiter, T. (2014). Gardening for Nutrition. Gainesville, FL.
S. Bresin, UF/IFAS Pasco Extension, Family Nutrition Program Manager