Loring Schoolyard Garden needs your vote

Loring Community School has entered the Seeds of Change® Grant Program and is asking the community to vote for its application on the brand’s website. Seeds of Change® is awarding $310,000 in total grants to 24 garden projects around the country because they understand the value of food, farming, sustainability and nutrition education.

Earlier this month, the Seeds of Change® Grant Program accepted applications from organizations and schools across the country. Loring submitted an application highlighting how they would use a Seeds of Change® Grant to grow their gardening program and nourish a healthier, greener community.

From now through April 19, the community can vote to support their local gardening and farming programs by visiting the Seeds of Change® website (www.seedsofchangegrant.com) and voting once per day. After voting closes on April 19, the top 50 organizations with the most votes will move on to the final judging phase. Around May 8, Seeds of Change® will announce the winners

About Loring Community School Garden

The Loring garden program is run by community volunteers and relies solely on donations.  It’s a comprehensive learning experience for K-5 grades at Loring Community School in North Minneapolis. The garden, located in a community of North Minneapolis that the USDA has labeled a food desert, provides hands on learning in preparing garden beds, planting, nurturing plant growth, harvesting and cooking fresh. Every spring, all classrooms focus on planting the garden. During the summer, families continue the garden care and share their progress in bi-weekly gatherings featuring cooking with current harvests. Each fall, students continue to harvest and cook with available food in the garden. This spring, Loring is proud to be the first school in the district to house beehives on school grounds! Along with Pollinate MN, we will teach the environmental importance and benefits of honey bees and add to the well-rounded education of gardening at all stages. This grant will help secure funding for the beehive project costs, along with replenishing garden equipment and resources.

The Loring garden focuses on educating students in every aspect of gardening. Age appropriate workshops are created for all grades K-5 and feature specific gardening processes. As the students move through each grade, their experience from the previous year is built upon and expanded. As a result, students gain in depth knowledge of seed gathering/planting, ongoing garden care/nurturing, and harvesting/cooking. Fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables are all grown in the garden and orchard and used throughout the workshops. The addition of beehives will add to the education and understanding of the pollination process and how it influences the health of the plants and environment. The garden workshops also incorporate other school subjects such as math, science, and social studies. Separate plant beds feature themes of multicultural influence such as the 3 Sisters Garden for Native American plants and the Italian bed which contains basil, oregano, tomatoes, and garlic.

The success of the garden program is measured by the continued expansion of understanding gardening and cooking by the students year after year. As an inner city school with a 68% Free/Reduced Lunch population, most students do not have access to land or resources for growing their own food. They start Kindergarten and are introduced to planting and harvesting all varieties of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Many cannot describe what an herb is when they start the program, but by 5th grade they can identify and name all types of plants and how to harvest them. They can follow complete recipes, participate in every step of food prep, measure correctly, and learn new cooking styles. They can describe their experiences of making fresh pies, salsa, soups, and sauces. These students flourish in the heart of a big city in all things gardening. It’s an experience that transcends location, opportunity, and environment; one that continues to influence their food choices, health and well-being.