This article was submitted by Valley View School District 365U:
With an eye on creating an edible garden at the school, Martinez Middle School is looking for parents and other members of the community who would like to serve on a committee to explore the possibility.
“There are many benefits to school gardening,” said Stacey Morelos, who heads of the Romeoville school’s Ecology Club that will oversee the project. “But the most important benefit is encouraging healthier eating habits in our students.”
Following successful pilot edible garden projects this year at Tibbott Elementary School and Jane Addams Middle School in Bolingbrook, Valley View School District 365U’s Nutrition Services Department (formerly Food Services) is offering $5,000 grants to VVSD schools that can show that they are serious about creating edible gardens. Some of the grants include funding for spring 2013 startups and some involve startups during the 2013-14 school year.
Grant recipients are required to form a committee that can develop a workable timeline and budget, identify a location, put together a plan that connects the garden to the school cafeteria and classrooms, and develop community events and activities that will highlight the new garden.
While the edible garden will serve as a living classroom for students, everything that is grown will also be served in the school’s cafeteria.
Through the leadership of Ecology Club members and advisors, several Martinez staff members have already been identified as potential committee members. But now the Ecology Club is reaching out to the community as well.