Family Focus: Teachers working to bring gardens to schools

by: Erica Bryant Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

A group of Charlotte-Mecklenburg school teachers are working to green up the school system.
 
The Green Teacher Network is trying to build gardens in every school.
 
Students at Whitewater Academy are in class outside, learning in their very own garden on campus.
 
“We cover everything from putting the seeds in, to harvesting, bugs and all the science questions they have,” said teacher Jeffie Hardin.
 
The program is part of the Green Teacher Network, now in more than 80 Charlotte Mecklenburg schools, educating children about where food really comes from before it reaches the grocery store.
 
“For some reason, when they see broccoli it’s a really big thing. ‘Hey, this didn't come out of cellophane,’” Hardin said.
 
One favorite spot is the sunflower house.
 
 “That sunflower can get up to 14 feet and I am 4 feet 6. My teacher said it would take four of me and that's how tall that the sunflower garden will be,” student Mckinzie Middleton said.
               
The staff also incorporates math, planting in parallel lines and teaching perimeter.
 
Edna Chirico coordinates the regional effort and said research shows this translates into healthier lifestyles.
 
“Students that are actively engaged from seed to tasting the food change their eating habits long-term and change the eating habits of their families,” Chirico said.
 
All teachers within CMS, private, charter and home schools are invited to participate with the Green Teacher Network, even over the summer.

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