Growing Food Growing Health
Growing Food, Growing Health (GFGH) is a dynamic and multifaceted school garden project created in 2010 by Community Mercantile Education Foundation in Lawrence, KS, in partnership with The Merc Coop, a 43-year-old cooperatively owned grocery. GFGH runs a large production garden at West Middle School and two education-based gardens at neighboring Sunset Hill Elementary and Hillcrest Elementary. Sustainably grown produce (over 15,000 lbs to date) is used in the school cafeteria and sold to The Merc to help sustain the project. Dedicated Student Gardeners are employed as a job training and leadership development program through The Merc. They act as ambassadors for school gardens and local foods, leading garden tours, participating in special events, and conducting weekly local food tastings at the Merc, educating our entire community about local food. The GFGH gardens have been a model for our community and a catalyst for the establishment of a District-wide Farm to School Program, which now boasts 17 gardens at other schools. Together we work to get kids in the garden to instill lifelong skills, fostering a deep understanding and connection to the foods they eat.