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Hundreds of Montgomery County Students Growing Veggies in School Gardens

A study of MCPS gardens reveals produce gardening is a growing trend.

Third-grade students at Rock Creek Forest Elementary School in Chevy Chase harvest lettuce, spring 2011. Photo Credit: Laura L. Thornton.
Third-grade students at Rock Creek Forest Elementary School in Chevy Chase harvest lettuce, spring 2011. Photo Credit: Laura L. Thornton.

By Whitney Teal

Of all the things to spend your high school years doing, growing vegetables (that you can eat) wouldn’t seem to be a popular choice.

So how do you explain the 100-plus students at Poolesville High participating in a global ecology course and planting a garden in a greenhouse? Or the multiple horticulture classes at Montgomery Blair High is Silver Spring nurturing vegetables in plant beds?

In fact, 35 Montgomery County public schools participate in some sort of vegetable gardening project, many with 100 or more students to each garden, according to a survey by Montgomery Victory Gardens, a nonprofit that supports agriculture in the county.

"We are pleased to see the number of MCPS schools participating in this extraordinary national movement of school food gardening," said Gordon Clark, project director of Montgomery Victory Gardens. "Still, it is not even yet at 20 percent of the 202 schools in the district, and many teachers and parents interviewed would love to see greater support from the MCPS administration, from more financial assistance to greater inclusion in the curriculum."

Montgomery Victory Gardens is pushing for more resources for school gardens, with the ultimate goal of reaping environmental, economic and nutritional benefits for county residents, the organization said in a press release.

Does your child’s school have a garden? Do you support edible vegetable gardens for students? Tell us in the comments!

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