Growing Gardens for a More Colorful School Lunch

Every Monday after school young members of the Postville School Garden Club head down Bancroft Street, across the train tracks to the community garden located caddy corner from Clinton Meyer Park.  These elementary and middle school students have been making these trips to the garden since Mid-April.

 

Under the guidance of community volunteers, Judy Egeland, Cici Mueller, Jill Dehning, Mary Engstrom, and myself, a FoodCorps service member, young gardeners plant, cultivate, and harvest a rainbow’s worth of colors.

 

The club received start-up funds from a mini-grant from the National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation.  The mini-grants enable county-based Master Gardener volunteers and 4-H members to develop a youth/adult partnership team that plans and implements a community-based project. The focus of these projects is to promote healthy eating through the production of fruits and vegetables. Through this project, youth and adult team members will reach a minimum of 50 additional youth to educate them about healthy food choices.

 

Another World

 

A visit to Postville’s community garden is like entering another world.  When students step off the pavement and into the garden, they wander along winding paths lined with arching trellises bearing tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and gourds.  Between the paths grow patches of beets, carrots, rainbow chard, melons, winter squash, herbs, potatoes, the list goes on and on…

 

During the hour and a half of garden club, students harvest food to take home or send to school.  From time to time, adult volunteers lead students in a healthy cooking activity using fresh vegetables from the garden.  In addition to the many practical skills students gain from these activities, they also learn the value of community service and healthy lifestyles.

School gardeners construct tomato trellises with their mega-muscles!

 

Back at school, garden club members are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor in the school lunch line.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are featured in Postville’s salad bar and hot line on a regular basis.  Allowing kids to make the connection between their food and where it is grown is one great way to encourage them to try new things.

 

In conjunction with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, the Postville School Wellness Team promotes good food and physical activity in effort to create healthy, thriving kids who are ready to learn, play and succeed.

 

School Wellness Update

 

Here are some upcoming wellness events: October is Farm 2 School Month, and October 15th-19th is Homegrown School Lunch Week in NE Iowa.  Celebrate National Walk to School Day October 3rd by allowing your child to safely walk or bike to school.

 

Thanks to all who participated in the 2nd annual Tour De Allamakee County Bike Ride and Fundraiser!

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