LOWER COLUMBIA SCHOOL GARDENS
Cultivating the values of lifelong learning, sustainability, health, and community.
A school garden is a dynamic learning environment where students work hard together, study and explore the natural world, care for living things and discover where real food actually comes from. Kids experience hands-on, real-life applications of science, math, nutrition, social studies, and more. You might see them testing soil samples; harvesting and drying seed pods to plant in the spring; spreading rich compost over raised beds; or sautèing fresh (picked 5 minutes prior!) vegetables with olive oil and herbs in an outdoor kitchen. Many of these kids have never before planted a seed, used a shovel or wheelbarrow, or picked a fresh berry! As one 3rd grader new to the garden said recently, "I never knew you could eat plants!"
Cowlitz County has some of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet and lifestyle related illness in the State of Washington, and it ranks 39 out of 39 counties for healthy behaviors. School gardens directly counteract these trends by getting kids active and getting them excited about growing, cooking, and eating fresh, healthy foods. As students bring this excitement home and involve their families and friends, our neighborhoods and communities are strengthened. Families build a greater connection with the school, and not just during the school day: there are afterschool and weekend gardening sessions, spring plant sales, summer produce stands, fall harvest festivals.
Since 2002 we've witnessed firsthand the magic that happens in school gardens - kids work hard and discover together, learn to cook and eat fresh whole foods they have grown themselves. Each day we are reminded this is good for kids - they need this. We see gardens as an integral part of every school, even (and especially) as schools face tough budget cuts. It can be difficult for schools to maintain a successful garden program without outside help, and that's exactly why we're here. We coordinate community support from businesses, families, service organizations, and individuals like you knowing that together we can cultivate the values of lifelong learning, sustainability, health & community.
Demand for school gardens is growing nationwide, but implementing a successful and sustainable program requires a combination of
expertise, community support, material and financial support. At LCSG, we are dedicated to helping parents and educators realize the many
benefits a garden program brings to the kids in their schools.
After successfully implementing and sustaining 4 full fledged programs, with several more in various stages of development we are uniquely qualified to grow school gardens that enhance the quality of education, civic engagement, family involvement, nutritional and environmental education, social development, and physical health of kids in our schools.