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Students Grow Through Community Garden

Students at Edison Elementary School are getting a lesson outside of the classroom this week.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Students at Edison Elementary School are getting a lesson outside of the classroom this week.

They got their hands dirty Monday while planting vegetables in their community garden.

"I've never really done a garden," said Shane Owens "I never did a garden at my old school so this is my first time planting at Edison."

Owens is deaf, but for him, the garden brings many other senses to life. He and other students learn how to plant and care for their crops.

"It's a nice way to further their education and learn more outside of the classroom as well as inside," said Andrea Green, Edison Elementary School.

They're not only learning how the plants grow, they're also getting a lesson about nutrition and healthy eating habits.

"A lot of times kids aren't used to eating fresh vegetables. They're getting them from a can or they're out eating fast food. This is just a great way to introduce kids to new, different foods that they might not have tried before," said Drew Bouge, Live Well St. Joseph coordinator.

Without the garden, access to fresh fruits and vegetables is also an issue. 

"Here at Edison, it's a food desert there's really not a lot of grocery stores anywhere around. There's really not anywhere to plant a garden except for right here in their front yard so it's a great way to get the food out to the community," added Bouge.

Once the vegetables are grown, kids can step into the kitchen and learn how to cook with what they've grown.

"One of the great benefits that this has spiraled into is we do cooking classes to educate the kids on what to do with the fresh fruits and vegetables they grow in the garden," Bouge said.

There are hopes that this initiative will spread.

"We hope to get further word out to the community so they will realize that this is their garden and it is for the community, not just for Edison school but for the area as well, and we hope they utilize it," said Green.

Lake Contrary, Pickett, Humboldt, and Lindbergh schools also have community gardens. Each school has a similar goal of having a positive effect on their surrounding communities.
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