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Gardens Arrive at Beverly’s Elementary Schools

Third graders are leading their peers across the state when it comes to learning about gardening and eating healthy.

A new “Be Healthy Beverly” program that has brought three raised bed gardens to each elementary school in the state was unveiled Thursday at Centerville Elementary School.

The program was created by a group that includes YMCA of the North Shore, Beverly Hospital and Green City Growers of Somerville and paid with a grant from the Centers For Disease Control.

“The great thing about the lesson is that it is always outside – unless there is a hurricane,” said Judith Cronin during Thursday’s event.

Cronin is also a former School Committee president and City Councilor from Ward 6, where Centerville Elementary School is located.

Third grade students all all five elementary schools in the city are taking part. The program from Green City Growers includes a 15 minute “lecture’ followed by 15 minutes of gardening. It includes lessons on planting seeds, thinning a garden and teaching students how to tell fruit in ripe.

“This can translate to gardens at their homes and that is wonderful,” said Nancy Palmer, chairwoman of the Beverly Hospital Board of Trustees. The hospital contributed $10,000 toward the project and it was “well worth it.”

The project also aims to teach kids about eating healthy and is the second part of an initiative that introduced salad bars in the cafeterias at schools last year.