Prairie Grove Honored for Garden Project

   

Prairie Grove Honored for Garden Project
12/8/2016 2:11:45 PM

EAST at Prairie Grove Middle School was among four schools chosen by the Arkansas Agriculture Department and Farm Credit of Arkansas as winners of the Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year contest.

The garden at Prairie Grove was named as the Best Community Collaboration School Garden and was presented with an award of $500 by Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the Capitol Building in Little Rock on Dec. 7. Other winners included:

  • Overall Winner: Marshall Elementary in Marshall
  • Best Nutrition Education Based School Garden: Health/Wellness and Environmental Studies Magnet School in Jonesboro
  • Best Environmental Based Education School Garden: Southside Elementary in Siloam Springs

 

“School gardens are an interactive way to teach Arkansas students about growing healthy food and eating well. We are proud of educators instilling healthy habits through living classroom settings like school gardens, and proud of students involved in efforts that create healthier futures and communities,” said Hutchinson.

 

Tracie Ashley, facilitor at Prairie Grove Middle School, said the many parnters with the garden include: the Prairie Grove Senior Center, AmeriCorp, GardenCorp, Tri-Cycle Farms, Appleseeds, Inc., Prairie Grove Health and Wellness Center, Prairie Grove Christian Church, Prairie Grove Ministerial Alliance, Mater Gardeners of Northwest Arkansas and Economics Arkansas. Examples of cooperation have included:  donating produce to the Senior Center Meals on Wheels Program for three years and members of the center stopping by to teach gardening to students; the school partnering with an Eagle Scout candidate to set up irrigation and help get water from the city; and excess vegetables being donated to local hunger relief nonprofits.

 

Beyond that, she said, the garden has served as a resource for the entire district as students and teachers have walked through to learn about composting, irrigation, vegetable growth and much more. It's also provided many with a taste of produce fresh from the vine.

 

 The Arkansas Agriculture Department and Farm Credit began the contest to promote the importance of involving young people in the process of fresh food cultivation and production. Any Arkansas school, grades pre-K-12, with a working school garden during the 2015-2016 schoolyear with photo or video documentation of garden activities was eligible to apply.

 

“As a farmer-owned cooperative, we believe it’s important to support local food system initiatives such as the Arkansas Grown School Garden Program,” said AgHeritage and Farm Credit Services President and CEO Greg Cole on behalf of the Farm Credit cooperatives of Arkansas.

 

“Local food projects like this are a great way to educate the next generation and the public about food production and agriculture,” he said.

 

The Arkansas Grown program promotes food and products grown in Arkansas by Arkansas producers, and helps make the connection between growers and buyers. Arkansas Grown is a program of the Arkansas Agriculture Department. Learn more at arkansasgrown.org.

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