Building Gardens Building Minds
Building Gardens Building Minds program is very young and continues to evolve as we learn from our schools. Our mission statement is "Equipping teachers to integrate curriculum standards into the edible classroom and improving community health through fresh produce." We currently work with approximatley 25 local schools across 5 counties to establish edible school garden classrooms. For the past two years we have partnered with Cabarrus Health Alliance and The CDC as a component of the REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) grant to help establish gardens as well as provide professional development that would enable teachers to use the garden classroom effectively. The majority of schools we work with are Title I schools, with the average free and reduced lunch rate of 62%
Building Gardens Building Minds program is a part STEM Education Extension program at The Plants for Human Health Institute. PHHI is a research institute whose mission is "Leading the discovery and delivery of plant based solutions to human health". We currently have two Extension team members who focus on School Gardens. Our objective is to build a model that includes includes establishing an edible school garden, training the school's garden team and developing curriculum that is aligned with state/federal standards. This model will then be used throughout the state by the local Extension agents. We believe the team approach is key to sustainabilty of the gardens, therefore we require each school to establish a garden team of typically 10 members. We train the garden team and then after each professional development session, the team then trains the rest of the staff. We are also working to connect with other school garden support organizations to establish a state-wide school garden network.