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Parker Elementary School Gets a Garden

Participating in a school garden program can be transformational for kids. School gardens provide kids with a real-time look at how food is grown. When kids spend weeks or months growing their own food, they feel proud and connected to it, which is key to trying new foods and developing life-long healthful eating habits.

Beyond changing eating behaviors, school gardens serve as a space for hands on learning, making abstract concepts taught in the classroom come to life. Gardens teach students skills like teamwork, patience, and cooperation. They foster curiosity, encouraging students to explore and reason independently, which contributes to a classroom of more engaged students and better learning outcomes.

Recognizing the enormous benefits of school gardens, Isles has made it a goal to install a garden at every school in Trenton. This November we moved one step closer to our goal when we helped build and install three garden beds at Parker Elementary School. Even though it was a chilly day, several classes came out to help. Students enthusiastically filled the beds with soil, raked leaves, and cleaned up trash, transforming their schoolyard into an outdoor classroom. They talked about what they are excited to grow in the spring and discussed what they hoped to learn about gardening.

Teachers were equally excited about the garden as we shared ideas and resources about how to connect it to the curriculum.

This particular garden is part of a greater wellness initiative at Parker Elementary. In addition to installing a garden, the staff and students are setting up a wellness team that will work toward implementing the district wellness policy, further encouraging a culture of health within the school.

We plan to continue to support Parker in implementing their wellness goals and will be back at in the spring with an abundance of seeds and seedlings to help set up the garden for the growing season.

About the Grantee

Isles Inc.

Founded in 1981, Isles, Inc. is a community development and environmental organization based in Trenton, New Jersey. With a mission to foster self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities, we design and develop effective services that support this mission and share what we learn with others who can make a difference.

Strategy: School Fruit & Vegetable Gardens

Cohort: Central 1

Funder: SNAP-Ed

Cities: Trenton