Promoting School Gardens to Further Community Sustainability
||Conference Concurrent Sessions: Collaboration and Partnerships
||Music City Center
|Floor / Room
||Oct. 7, 2013, 4 p.m. Oct. 7, 2013, 6 p.m.
This poster will describe Luther College’s work supporting school gardens with 18 school districts in Northeast Iowa as a way to promote community sustainability. The poster will also describe Luther's collaboration with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative and other community partners who are helping to make this work possible. Given the increased national focus on childhood obesity, school wellness policy and school lunch, schools are a natural place to begin to cultivate environments of wellness. School gardens lie at the intersection of health, policy and school lunch and can serve as a bridge between schools and the community, while also reconnecting students with food in a fun and educational way. School gardens provide appealing, nutritious vegetables to children and we are finding children to be more likely to consume vegetables that they’ve had a hand in growing. Food Corps and Americorps members in Northeast Iowa provide coordination, programming and oversight to school gardens while working to build the capacity of schools and communities to be able to sustain and expand the gardens in the future. Many parts of the country are faced with the challenge of a short growing season that mostly occurs while students are not in school. This poster will present creative ways of managing summer garden maintenance as well as provide planting tips that will ensure that the majority of harvest is reaped when school is back in session. Luther College and community partners recently released a comprehensive resource for school gardens in Northeast Iowa, which will better equip school garden champions to expand and enhance school garden programming while also providing resources for those schools looking to start new gardens. A copy of this resource will be available at the conference and can be shared electronically with anyone interested in learning more.