Changing the Landscape of Education
Citi GardensSM Food Forests Grown With The Education Fund is at the cutting edge of nutrition and environmental sustainability education. In 2013, The Education Fund made history by installing the first food forest in a public elementary school in the nation. By June 2016, 11 of our 51 raised bed gardens had become perennial, edible landscapes, each occupying an impressive 3,500-10,000 square feet of school grounds. Citi GardensSM Food Forests Grown With The Education Fund is a prolific food system producing enough fresh, organic produce for students to take home weekly harvests, while still providing enough fruits and vegetables to incorporate in classroom nutrition lessons, as well as the cafeteria lunch menu!
These sweeping gardens are on the cutting edge of sustainable food growing systems. Instead of relying on raised beds or boxes, the food forests abound with perennial edible trees, bushes, herbs, vines, and ground covers nestled among winding, mulched paths. Food forests mimic the natural biodiversity and resilience of a forest, while providing an abundance of low maintenance crops year-round.
2015 marked the official kickoff of Citi GardensSM Food Forests Grown With The Education Fund at Kelsey Pharr Elementary. More than 200 families celebrated as they received their first harvest bag filled with kale, collard greens, fresh herbs, and rare, tropical treats such as cranberry hibiscus and Okinawa spinach.
More than 26,000 harvest bags have been sent home with families served by Citi GardensSM Food Forests Grown With The Education Fund. Every school year this number continues to grow as the food forests flourish and productivity increases.
In the 2016-17 school year The Education Fund continues to make history as we build out five additional food forests. A total of 16 schools will have Citi GardensSM Food Forests Grown With The Education Fund, with student-run harvest clubs that continue to organize the sending of fresh produce home at least weekly. This makes Miami-Dade County Public Schools a national leader with the greatest number of food forests compared to any other school district. And with 51 schools all sprouting gardens, with the support of Citi and other donors, Miami-Dade is setting the bar high.
Students Thrive in all 51 Garden Schools with the help of Citi
Children are at home in nature. The Education Fund's Garden Schools, including the 11 (soon to be 16) Citi GardensSM Food Forests Grown With The Education Fund, provide a perfect environment for students to learn a variety of curriculum hands-on. Students put concepts into practice as they explore, observe, and eat their way through the gardens.
Students recycle cafeteria scraps to make compost in the center of a banana circles at Lake Stevens Elementary.
Students at Twin Lakes Elementary set up a harvest table for a harvest distribution.
Students prepare a salad from their food forest greens at Parkview Elementary School.
Kindergarteners plant a Suriname spinach plant in their food forest at Lake Stevens Elementary.
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For more information, please contact:
Edible Garden Initiative
Senior Program Manager
Debi La Belle
Edible Garden Initiative
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