As part of the town-wide “Be Healthy Beverly” initiative, Beverly Public Schools teamed up with Green City Growers to design and implement a garden education program at each of the town’s five elementary schools. Open to all third grade students as part of their course of study, the gardens provide an opportunity for students to engage in the growing process from start to finish, participating in every step from planting to harvest. The GCG education team provides garden education lessons covering topics including science and ecosystems, health and nutrition, food access, and the economics of food production with vegetable-centric curricula tying into Science, Math, Language Arts, and Social Studies.
The System We Created
At each of the five schools – Ayers Ryal Side Elementary, Centerville Elementary, Cove Elementary, Hannah Elementary, and North Beverly Elementary – GCG installed three raised beds. Visits from the GCG staff provide garden education programs to all third graders.
Read a case study on the garden education programs here
Where Does the Food Go?
Produce grown in the garden is delivered to the cafeterias, where the chefs incorporate the fresh vegetables into lunches for students. At the end of each growing season, the GCG education team has a 'final harvest' lesson, where students get to enjoy the farm-fresh spoils of their hard work!
“Be Healthy Beverly” is a collaborative initiative funded through a grant from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), and is led by the Greater Beverly YMCA in partnership with Beverly Hospital. The gardening project was funded, in part, by a gift from the Beverly Chamber of Commerce, which provided funding for the beds, soil, seeds, and the curriculum. “Be Healthy Beverly” is comprised of representatives from the YMCA and city government, as well as Beverly Hospital, Beverly Bootstraps, the Chamber of Commerce, United Way, the Food Project and Children’s Hospital, among others.