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Jul 1, 2010
Time out for gardening
Jessie Atchison  Burpee Home Gardens Brand Manager, 2008-2010

A recent study of 1,300 teachers was commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society in the U.K. and found children in schools that encouraged gardening became more resilient, confident, and lived healthier lives. That is such wonderful news! I’m pretty sure deep down it’s something we all inherently “knew” to be true, but to have research to back it up is quiet gratifying.

We at Burpee Home Gardens have been so impressed by the schoolchildren we’ve met across the country this season through our various efforts to encourage community gardens. From East to West, the kids we saw were enthusiastic about getting dirty planting vegetables, and excited to watch their plants bloom.

We’ve come to pretty much the end of our “I Can Grow” tour, and made one final stop a little closer to home today when we visited the Academy for Global Citizenship – a public charter school on the southside of Chicago. This K thru 2 school’s mission is an inspiration:

To inspire the way society educates the lifeblood of our future by fostering systemic change. Our children will be the environmental, social, and political stewards of tomorrow. Let's equip them with the advantages and opportunities afforded by unsurpassed education and the dream of potential.

One of the aspects of the AGC that really impresses us is their fostering of environmental stewardship. The school grounds feature sustainable living equipment, such as wind turbines, compost and recycling stations, rain and water barrels, and green-roofed chicken coops. Students grow their own organic veggies in the school’s garden and prepare them in the lunchroom and with their families. At every turn, AGC teachers encourage the young students to be inspired by the world around them.

So today, as part of our encouragement for this new generation of youth gardening, Burpee took an under-used section of the Academy’s lot and transformed it into a space for meditation and learning.

The team installed a Time Out bench with planters on each side, and filled it with various colors, textures, scents, and tastes for students to enjoy as they have a break away from their day. We included herbs and vegetable varieties like our White Star and Purple Blaze eggplants, the Pinot Noir pepper and Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. The kids enjoying the new garden space can continue to learn where their food comes from, and they’ll be able to connect with the environment on many sensory levels.

We applaud the Academy for Global Citizenship on a job well done! And we’re honored to be a part of their continued success with educating today’s students on environmental stewardship.

What a perfect way to close out our youth garden tours for this planting season!

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