Mendocino County Educators Reach-Out to Keep School Gardens Growing

Twenty Mendocino County educators dug in and shared a nutritious meal in celebration of Garden Enhanced Nutrition Education in October. Let's ensure that healthy gardens and children grow in Mendo'!

Food Systems Project Assistant April Cunningham of the Gardens Project led a G.E.N.E. Workshop at Nokomis Elementary School Saturday October 5, 2013. The G.E.N.E. Workshop served as an opportunity for educators in Mendocino County to strengthen their network, share and acquire resources, and fortify their ability to utilize garden space as an additional classroom.

The G.E.N.E. Workshop served 20 Mendo' County educators from in-school and after-school programs; ranging from Willits Charter to Pomolita Middle School. In collaboration with Master Gardeners Gloria Jarrell and Karen House, Food Corps Service Member Keegan Niland, HealthCorps Service Member Steph Logsdon, Teacher Pam Chiriboga, and G.E.N.E. Coordinator Terry d’Selkie; April demonstrated activities like “Eat a Rainbow” where the importance of eating fruits and vegetables rich in a variety of colors is highlighted; and, “Food Safety in the Garden” where educators learn the importance of preparing foods from the garden safely while recycling water.

The Mendocino County teachers were happy to be a kid for the day while demonstrating garden and nutrition education activities. Keegan led a Life Lab activity called “Six of One Thing, Half Dozen of the Other” where participants classified objects in the garden and talked about them as a group. The activity was a great way to explore how the new common core curriculum set to launch next school year can be incorporated into garden education. Steph led a workshop showing how toilet paper rolls, newspaper, and good potting soil is enough to germinate seeds and grow starts. Steph’s workshop opened up avenues and explored how starting a garden is accessible and cost-effective. April led a cooking workshop to instruct on proper knife technique and facilitating minimal-heat/no-heat recipes for kids. Mendo' County teachers were excited to create their own salad dressing and try bulgur wheat for the first time!

Educators left the G.E.N.E. Training feeling supported by their peers and community. In addition to the information and technical components, Terry d’Selkie helped source a gardening kit with basic tools; and seeds from Bountiful Gardens. It’s an incredible experience to meet and collaborate with folks in the community that choose to teach and empower young people to grow, eat, and celebrate healthy foods.

The Real Dirt

Sign up to keep up with what's growin' on
around Mendocino County and Lake Counties!