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The Real Benefits of Vegetable Gardening On Students and Our Future

Pictured: Mayor Michelle Wu attends the ribbon cutting event for the new gardens at Boston Green Academy. Green City Growers’ Christopher Grallert and Caitie Dwyer-Huppert to the left. (Mayor’s Office Photo by John Wilcox)

On October 17th, Mayor Wu announced 10 new raised-bed garden classrooms in the BPS school system, which Green City Growers has had the honor to install, maintain, and lead education programs in. This post will talk about how urban vegetable gardens deliver on Mayor Wu’s two main goals of expanding nature-based learning in Boston to nurture the whole child, and to sow the seeds of a more sustainable future. In her recent interview with WBUR on October 18th, she outlines the goals of outdoor learning education: 

“Our overall goal is for Boston to be the best city for families. And that means creating the whole child… This is part of the Learn, Connect, and Explore commitment around what it means to be a kid and to feel connected to the larger world… Some of our most pressing global challenges right now are around climate, and… Green infrastructure is the solution for that… We need an investment in the people who will be around to plan, design, staff, plant, and maintain all types of green infrastructure.” 

We’re proud to stand with GrowBoston: Office of Urban Agriculture and Boston Public Schools’ Sustainability, Energy and Environment Program in building a sustainable future for Boston communities.

Creating the Whole Child by Nourishing Bodies and Minds

Studies conducted by the National Foundation for Education Research emphasize the benefits of school gardening programs. These initiatives have been found to positively impact students in several key ways:

  • Attitude Towards Healthy Eating & Nutrition:
    • Children develop a positive attitude towards healthy eating through actively participating in the cultivation of produce. 
    • They become more inclined to choose fresh, locally grown produce over processed alternatives, promoting long-term well-being.
  • Social Well-being:
    • School gardens provide a unique platform for social well-being, particularly benefiting students who may have disengaged from traditional learning.
    • Gardening promotes teamwork, communication, and a sense of accomplishment, boosting self-esteem and mental health.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders

  • Students who participate in garden programs learn about local food systems, sustainable agriculture practices, and the significance of preserving the environment.
  • Urban vegetable garden beds provide a unique opportunity for students to connect with nature in a meaningful way, giving a sense of environmental responsibility.

Planting Seeds of Change

Garden education plants seeds of change. It leaves a lasting, tangible impact on those it touches, and Boston sets a precedent for other cities to follow suit in prioritizing sustainability and outdoor education. Green City Growers is proud to be a part of the initiative to use garden education in Boston and beyond to make a meaningful impact on children, its communities, and the environment, one garden bed at a time.

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