Schoolyard vegetable gardens have been shown to have a strong positive impact on children’s food choices. Planting, growing, and harvesting vegetables of their own increases children’s willingness and desire to eat those vegetables, and try new ones. From The Edible Schoolyard program started by chef Alice Waters in Berkeley, CA in 1995, to the many local groups running their own small schoolyard garden programs, the results have been the same. (Do a simple internet search for “schoolyard gardens” and you’ll see what I mean.)
Kimbal Musk wants to take this concept to a national level. He is the co-founder of Big Green, a national non-profit whose goal is to establish schoolyard garden programs in every school in the U.S. According to Musk,
In 2011, I wanted answers. So Hugo and I co-founded non-profit organization to join the movement to help get kids excited about real food. Supported by my community restaurant, The Kitchen, we started building Learning Gardens in schools around our community and surrounding cities. We were a small but fierce team and called ourselves The Kitchen Community (TKC). We had success in Denver with the support of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. We went to California to build gardens in LAUSD, Compton, and Hawthorne School Districts. We went to Chicago with the incredible support from the City of Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel and built 100 Learning Gardens in one calendar year! Next up was Memphis with 100 Learning Gardens and Pittsburgh with 50 Learning Gardens in only two years. In 2016 we went to Indianapolis where we now have 30 Learning Gardens and are on our way to 100. 👊 It’s been a whirlwind of excitement around real food and yes, my questions were answered. Real food education makes a powerful difference.
The next expansion city is Detroit, where Musk has already received the support of local corporate and philanthropic sponsors. But they still need more help. To find out more, read Musk’s post and to take action, go to Big Green.