An important aspect of spirituality is nurturing our land and the children of the earth. Today I was studying a magazine at my aunt and uncle’s house, and I learned about a program called Farm to School. In Central Florida, which has a predominance of agricultural land, as well as a full scale agricultural University of Florida, there are schools taking advantage of this grant. The children have gardens and feed their classmates with the food from the garden. As many as 200 hydroponically and organically grown heads of lettuce are provided, as well as different herbs and fruits.
From the Website:
“USDA Farm to School Grant Program Through the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, $5 million in funding is available per year and about $20,000 – $100,000 is awarded per grant. In 2014, 71 grants were awarded to projects in 42 states. For more information and to learn if you are eligible to apply, visit the USDA Farm to School Grant Program’s website. ”
This synthesis of past and present is astounding to me. I am very excited to learn about this grant, and I encourage all educators to contact and instill this program in their schools. It has the outstanding potential to create a sense of community in students. Local businesses can become involved, and work with students in an environment that promotes healthy life style choices and teaches them the ins and outs of food production as well as different business aspects. Children will be trained from a young age to appreciate the effort that it takes to grow food, and this can have ripple effects throughout their whole live to cultivate mindfulness and respect.
Gardening is healing for the soul and I know that if every school had a garden (there is over five million dollars available) then the incidence of health issues, delinquency, and misbehavior would go down. Children would be exposed to sunshine and dirt, two of the most healthy things for their developing immune systems. The kids will participate in a useful life skill that they can take home, and more importantly that will follow them their whole lives. If every house in the United States adapted to a plant based diet and grew their own food, the economy would improve and so many people would have access to healthy organic vegetables and be able to eat an enticing diet that allowed them to enjoy their lives and the country would be an all around better place.
Again I would like to emphasize how important it is for our future generations that we take initiative with how our tax payer dollars are spent and be advocates for our children’s schools that we instill gardens in the local schools and use this money available to us. There are already schools doing it in Gainesville, and I would like to learn how to make the jump so this is accessible to elementary, middle, and high school students in South East Florida as well, particularly Palm Beach County where I live.
Here is a resource list of local Nurseries
- Indian Trails Native Nursery 6315 Park Lane W Lake Worth, FL Web Email Phone: 561-641-9488
- Meadow Beauty Nursery 5782 Ranches Road Lake Worth, FL Web Email Phone: 561-601-9673
- Southern Landscape & Nursery Inc 16351 Van Gogh Road Loxahatchee, FL Phone: 561-798-1172
- Hackmeadow Farms 1875 E Road Loxahatchee, FL Phone: 561-204-4848 Facebook page
- David Bates 17639 64th Place N Loxahatchee, FL Phone: 561-790-3246 By Appointment Only