At the beginning of the school year, the Urban Gardening Coalition was notified that the school garden program at Tennyson Middle School would be receiving a Sodexo School Engagement Grant in partnership with Youth Service America – a grant which utilizes service-learning as a means to empower students to learn about impact childhood hunger and nutrition in their communities.
Each week, UGC staff members meet with students from Tennyson Middle School to work, weed, water, and harvest produce from the School Garden, in addition to preparing healthy snacks using garden fresh produce, learning about healthy and balanced diets, and distributing extra produce through the Waco Downtown Farmers Market and local hunger programs. Money generated through produce sales at the WDFM will be donated to a local charity as decided upon Tennyson Garden Club students.
UGC also hopes to deepen partnerships within Tennyson Middle School by working with teacher Mary Duty (Social Studies Department chair) and the Life Skills Class. Mary Duty has worked with the garden in the past to harvest produce used in the soup for Caritas’ Feast of Caring in the spring. The Life Skills Class is planning to maintain a few beds in the garden – as well as partnering with Baylor Campus Kitchens, who will be leading nutrition and cooking lessons with Tennyson students.
Follow to the Urban Gardening Coalition’s blog for more updates on the Tennyson Middle School Garden and the Sodexo School Engagment Grant!
Sodexo is underwriting this program because they expressly want to engage students on the issue of childhood hunger. Although it is often difficult to isolate children from a hungry family, or from the broader underlying issues of poverty and homelessness, this progaram’s focus is on bringing food resources to children, and on increasing awareness of the crisis of hunger as it affects the children in thea community.