Growing Green

Students receive school garden to learn the importance of gardening and the environment

Grantee: Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools– New Orleans, LA

Project Title: School Garden at Edgar P. Harney Academy

Grant Type: ecoSolution

Description: Through Rethink, students learn about and create change in schools focused on food, nutrition & lunch, the environment, building designs, student conflict & discipline, reward structures, and physical activity. Rethink has successfully introduced 21st-century green bathroom designs, garden plots and healthy, tasty, local foods as policy in New Orleans public schools.

Thanks to a Captain Planet Foundation Small Grant, Rethink was able to develop a model garden plot at Edgar P. Harney Academy in Central City New Orleans. The garden offers hands-on learning experiences through planting and maintaining a garden; provides a source of fresh locally grown food to students; teaches students about sustainability, healthy eating, and cooking; fosters an increased sense of environmental awareness; and creates a sense of community between students, staff, and local residents through gardening. At least 29 students demonstrated increased knowledge in healthy eating, native plant species, and environmental sustainability practices (rainwater capture, composting, recycling, etc.), as measured by pre- and post-surveys. The school started a garden club (The Harney Garden club) and they receive support from a Rethink staff member once a month. The garden helps the school offer the students hands-on learning of gardening, sustainability, healthy eating, and environmental awareness.

Continuous impact/community engagement: The project continues with the ongoing maintenance of the plot, and monthly check-ins with the school. The Harney garden club is budding and a vibrant addition to the school. As the sessions shift, addition to the space will be made, including the planting of fruit trees and the building of a berm.

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