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Grant funding enables students to tend new gardens year-round


class photoHEALTHY COMMUNITIES COALITION’S COMMUNITY ROOTS NEWS RELEASE – Sutro, Dayton, and Riverview Elementary and Dayton High Schools now have student, parent and booster club built hoop houses on each campus. The hoop houses serve as low tech green houses, enabling students to grow vegetables during the colder months, and making it possible to grow their gardens year round. Riverview Elementary is currently growing broccoli, radish, lettuce, spinach and carrots in their hoop house built last year. To see a fifth grader hesitantly take on their very first attempt at eating a mustard green, freshly plucked from the hoop house, is quite a treat. To have that reluctant fifth grader ask if he can have more – victory!

Benefits of school gardens and hoop houses are clear to see when working with the students. Excitement about learning and hands -on doing, exposure to science and math applications, knowing where their food comes from and the importance of a healthy active lifestyle are just a few. Team work is another important piece of this beautiful puzzle – it simply brings people together. Boys and Girls Club will be a big factor in helping with the gardens over the summer months, and have already started seed projects with the kids. Community is what this is all about.

Dayton High School’s Culinary Arts Class will be tending to their new garden and hoop house, growing a variety of herbs and vegetables for assorted events and fund raisers. This will give students a very well rounded approach to growing and creating. With plans to involve students and their school gardens’ harvest at our local farmers markets, as well as an invitation to sell to local restaurants, our schools’ gardens and hoop houses also serve as micro- business opportunities. Learning while doing has proven to be a truly beneficial experience, not only for the kids, but possibly even more so for us adults.

Most of the hoop houses have been funded by a USDA NIFA grant through Healthy Communities Coalition, while the Sutro hoop house has been funded by a Dolan Automotive School Improvement grant with technical assistance from Healthy Communities Coalition, Sutro Boosters and Holley Family Farms.
For more information about the school and/or community gardens, hoop houses, and farmers markets in the Lyon and Storey regions, please contact Wendy Madson at Healthy Communities Coalition’s Community Roots, a nonprofit garden center.

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