- Fruits: melons
- Vegetables: beans, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, cucurbits, eggplant, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips
- Additional Plants: herbs
- Animals: bees
- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, youth education
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, community-supported agriculture, farm-to-institution
- Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization, wildlife
- Pest Management: biological control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, mulching - plastic, soil solarization, weather monitoring
- Production Systems: organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
The goal of my research is to change the eating habits of the 20,000 students in our school system by starting gardens at all 22 schools in my school district where kids plant the vegetables, grow the plants, harvest the produce and have the cafeteria cook the vegetables for the students to eat.
The problem that I saw at my high school was kids over weight to the point of being obese. The recruiters who come to our school told me that 75% of the recruits trying to enter the armed service had to lose weight before they could sign up. The vending machines were chalk full of sugar and fat and the kids eating habits were horrible.
The literature that I used to back up my theory concludes that:
- 18% of K-12 students are overweight.
- 75% of high school recruits trying to enter the armed services are overweight.
- Vending machines in schools are full of sugar, fat, and starch.
The literature review statistics came from:
The Surgeon General’s office
The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH); WWW.healthyamericans.org
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The literature Cited for publishing our school’s progress in building gardens:
South Carolina Farmer Magazine, The Magazine of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, Fall 2012. Issue # 3, Features: Seeds For Thought, By Katie McElveen, “An Extraordinary Garden Becomes a Perfect School Project For Students of Every Level.
Making It Grow, Sponsored by Clemson University, It is a Public Television show that is viewed every Tuesday at 7:00pm on SCETV.
The Summerville, SC Newspaper; The Journal Scene; “From Seed to School Lunch…Kids Eating Healthy and Loving It”. May 31, 2013. By A.M. Sheehan.
The Charleston and Berkely County teachers created a text book for school gardening that will be published next month. Amy Dabbs, Clemson extension agent will be the lead to help obtain the book for me.
1. Obtain funding to provide materials necessary to implement a new garden. Insure the five schools in my district that recieved $5,000 grants from DHEC are succesful in building and maintaing a school garden. The materials needed for each garden include:
Cypress wood to construct raised bed garden boxes. 5’ long x 4’ wide and 8” tall. Two boxes are stacked on top of one another to create a 16” high raised bed.
Compost and soil to go into each bed.
Bags to hold the compost
Irrigation system to supply water to each raised bed.
Fertilizer to place in each bed.
Water keys to turn on and off the spigot
Insecticide for ants and bugs all organic
High tunnel at designated schools
Trays and 72 count seed cell packs
Six week education class on school gardening taught by Clemson University annually
Teachers selected to take the class by Principals
Multiple teachers must go through training at each school for sustainability
Curriculum Development for the teachers
Cafeteria Managers trained for food safety in preparing fresh produce; 200ppm bleach kill step in the GAP certification training on all produce brought in by students.
Select schools to prepare for and register in the GAP training through the SCDA.
Market each school to showcase the garden
At Risk Students performing better in these classes than traditional classes
2. Collaberate with Clemson University vegetable research center to provide assistance in finding local farmers to mentor these five schools.
3. Coordinate with Dr. Karen Hall and Amy Dabbs, our local Master Gardener instructors, who will teach 22 selected teachers, one from each school, in the Master Gardener curriculum. The schools will pay the $300 tuition for each teacher to complete this training which will insure all schools have a “Buy In” to the garden program.
4. I will help guide each school through the GAP certification process since I have already completed this step.
The four objectives I originally stated are correct. What changed was the funding source. I stated that DHEC would provide the funds, $5,000, to build gardens at all 22 schools in my district. This amount would not have achieved the goal because the cost to construct a garden is $1,500.00