Do you know a public school that would benefit from a grant and hands-on support from Buncombe County Extension Master Gardeners? School Gardens Grants are available to Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools. The application period is now open. The deadline for applying is Monday, May 2, 2016. Please call the Extension Office at 828-255-5522.
School Gardens Grants provides money to enable schools to start or expand already existing school gardens. We grow more than gardens, we grow gardeners. We do more than supply grant money, providing hands-on guidance to the school garden coordinator. We like to be involved long-term. School garden projects vary enormously. Some include an entire school while others target a specific group such as special needs children. School garden projects have built raised vegetable beds, started pollinator gardens, cultivated native plants, created rain gardens to deal with erosion, and done many more gardening activities.Students have hands-on experiences in the garden, relating math, reading, writing, science and social concepts to real-life applications. They gain understanding of edible plants and nutritional concepts. They are exposed to different vegetables and fruits, encouraging them to eat these and other healthy foods. From a third grader, “This is the best pear I ever had! It tastes better than the ones in the store!” Students learn the composition of soil and the process of building living garden soil, often finding vermiculture (composting with worms) fascinating. Students learn the importance of pollinators in the garden as well as the roles other beneficial insects play in a healthy, sustainable garden. They learn teamwork and patience. They learn not only the practical aspects of horticulture but also the joy of gardening and healthy eating. Another student’s quote, “Gardening is my favorite. You get to see how things work.”
Buncombe County Extension Master Gardeners were awarded first place in the State Master Gardeners Search for Excellence, Youth Division for our unique School Gardens Grant program in 2015. We have awarded over $25,000 to over 30 public schools since School Gardens Grants Program began in 2007.
More information is available at http://www.buncombemastergardener.org .