Kids & Family

Students Turn School Lawn into 'Giving Garden' to Help Feed Their Community

With the help of a local non-profit, they turned an unused plot of grass into something much more.

It's one thing to grow a garden, but to develop a no-till, permaculture plot from an unused field that now helps to feed an entire community? That's some serious planting power.

Washington non-profit All Hands on Earth (All Hands) recently teamed up with Orcas Christian School on Orcas Island, WA to create "The Giving Garden." The garden is a lush, student-run "food forest" that uses less natural resources than a traditional garden, and produces food year round due to the careful study and consideration that happens before the first seeds are even planted.

All Hands worked with volunteers and students from OCS to harvest more than 100 pounds of fresh, organic produce for the local food bank this summer, and bushes and trees are being primed to grow a variety of nutrient-rich fruits and nuts for next year's fall and winter seasons.

The produce harvested during the school year will be used in the school's cafeteria, with the surplus going to the food bank and local senior center. The organization also teaches classes and workshops to community members on topics like food preservation and composting.

Parents of the students involved in the project are thrilled with the progress of the garden, and some kids have even changed their eating habits as a result.

"I like the kale," one second grader told the Good News Network . His mother added excitedly, "And he never liked kale before! He really likes it now."

The Giving Garden is the first permaculture project from All Hands, and they have plans to build more self-sustaining food sheds across the country. The organization's founder, Alex Tamayo Wolf, thinks of investing in permaculture as a quiet form of activism.

"Activism doesn't need to be a large-scale undertaking, or act of extremism," explains Wolf. "It can be as simple as planting a tree or a garden; it doesn't have to be a big thing. Thinking too big stops a lot of people from acting. Simply growing your own food reduces transportation carbon footprint, improves the local ecology, your health, and feeds people. You can act without being an activist.'"

To learn more about permaculture and All Hands on Earth, you can check out their Facebook page .

For a look at a group in Pittsburgh that also supports student agriculture, click here . Grow Pittsburgh will come help you start at garden at your school!

(Source: images All Hands on Earth Facebook )

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