Arkansas School Garden Grant program awards grant

From Staff Reports
Charleston Middle School students work on a hoop tunnel they use to grow strawberries. The school recently received a $500 grant from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture to expand the program.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has named Charleston Middle School as one of the 52 schools across Arkansas that have been approved for funding through the Arkansas School Garden Grant Program.

The Charleston Middle School will receive a $500 grant to be used for maintaining and expanding its school garden. 

“School gardens provide a hands-on opportunity for children to learn about Arkansas agriculture and where their food comes from.  The lessons learned through school gardens have a lasting impact on children, their families, and entire communities,” Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward said in a news release.

“We look forward to working with the schools on their garden projects so many more Arkansas students can benefit from garden-based education,” Sarah Lane, Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program coordinator, added.

Fifth through eighth-grade teachers will continue to use the school garden to provide real-world application of science standards by teaching the concept of farm-to-table. In recent years, the school's science department has focused on growing strawberries as a crop that can be harvested while students are still in school. With this grant, the size of the strawberry patch can be expanded. Other types of produce that can be grown within the school year are being considered, the release adds.

The success of the garden has been in part due to the collaboration and partnership with Franklin County Agriculture Agent Jesse Taylor, and Sebastian County Agriculture Agent Clyde Fenton. These agents have aided in the success of the garden through the design, maintenance, and advice of better gardening practices, the release states.

School staff, as well as science students, help to complete the team in making the garden a success.

A strawberry growing program by Charleston Middle School students will be expanded with the help from an Arkansas Department of Agriculture grant.