Success Stories

Washington Student Gardeners Learn, Practice and Inspire Healthy Nutrition

Posted on 08/30/2010

In Auburn School District in Washington State, school lunches include oven roasted veggies like carrots, zucchini, beans, beets, sweet potatoes and kale, as well as fresh plums, pears and watermelon. Much of the produce comes straight from our school garden. We’ve found that there’s nothing like growing a vegetable from a tiny seed to inspire a child give a new fruit or vegetable a try!

Our Horticulture students, the after school garden club and our Summer School Academy students plan and tend the garden, which includes an orchard with 43 fruit trees. Students in the Academy make their own breakfast and then go to the garden to learn about the life cycle of plants, how to compost and the importance of good nutrition. They harvest foods to cook in their lunch each day, and the fruits of their labor supplement our summer food program, serving 2,000 children a day at 49 different community sites throughout the summer.

Our Elementary students enjoy having fresh garden food on their salad bars at school. Many kids today don’t know what a raw vegetable straight from the garden even looks like, so in our district we are trying to incorporate more whole foods in our meals. Instead of French fries, the students love their oven roasted potatoes with just a little oil, kosher salt and pepper.

This year we had several high school students comment on the peace they find working in the garden when life at home may not be so great. Our gardeners aren’t just learning healthy habits – they are learning to take pride in their labors.

4 Comments - View or Leave a Reply

  • Misty Crawford September 10th, 2010 2:46 pm

    How do you secure your garden from bio tampering?

  • Carol Barker September 13th, 2010 1:16 pm

    We use a mixture of vinegar,salt and dish soap to keep the weeds around the perimeter of the garden down. This is the first year we have had a big problem with slugs. The season here in Washington was very wet, cold and rainy. The garden did not produce as well this year as in the past. Our garden is fenced and we don’t have much trouble with animals. A few racooons make there home in one of the trees but we never see them. I’m not sure what you are asking. I hope this helps.

  • Allison Walker September 15th, 2010 1:40 pm

    Hi. Are you a standard public school? How did you get approval to get your garden produce served in the school lunches? I’ve been told that we (parents) can serve our garden food or let them eat it in the garden, but the cafeteria cannot serve our food in a school lunch or breakfast because it is not USDA approved, etc. I am in Greenville, SC and we have a good sized chemical-free garden behind the school that is maintained by parents and kids. Thanks and great job!!

  • Carol Barker September 28th, 2010 11:35 pm

    We do not have any restrictions on farm to school rules here in Washington in regards to our school garden. When we are buying from farms we make sure that they have a Haccp program in place and they have a good source of water. We have more control over our own school garden because we care for and process the vegetables ourselves.

Leave a Reply

View Success Stories

Click below to check out the success stories in your area, featuring healthier choices, scratch-prepared meals, locally grown foods and nutrition education programs!