Slow Food First Coast (SFFC) is proud to announce the winners of the Fall 2010 School Garden Grants.

Congratulations to the winners:

  • Rob Hall of Webster Elementary School
  • Diane Lloyd of Crookshank Elementary School
  • Dana Harrison and Janice Forson of Osceola Elementary School

The SFFC School Gardens Committee received 12 noteworthy applications from across St. Johns County and was very pleased with the quality and originality of the proposals submitted.  According to SFFC leader Richard Villadóniga, “As a teacher, I know I work with many creative and talented educators, but I was very impressed by the high caliber of extraordinary applications we received.  It made for a most difficult selection process, but in the end, we are confident we decided on the three proposals that will have the greatest positive impact on the students of St. Johns County.”

Lloyd was thrilled to be selected, remarking, “I think this is an amazing opportunity for the students in my class! In the city, most children do not have the opportunity to grow food, flowers... anything. This garden plot will give my students an opportunity for hands-on activities. They will be able to research how plants are grown, dig their own garden and eventually eat the food they grew with their own hands.”  Harrison echoed those sentiments, saying “Kindergarten is a time for new experiences, and Osceola is excited to plant some new seeds in our new kindergarteners’ minds with gardening. I can’t think of a better hands-on approach to learning than getting dirty and watching life bloom. We hope that a passion for gardening will also begin to bloom.”  Hall agreed, noting, “A school garden will give students an opportunity for open-ended exploration while learning about growing food and caring for the environment.  Gardening will create opportunities for them to enjoy fresh vegetables, classroom cooking, and harvest celebrations.”

As part of declaring 2010 the “Year of the Young Eater,” SFFC has focused on programs centered on the youth of our region, including offering teachers this opportunity to receive a raised bed container garden kit, complete with funds for organic soil and heritage seeds, a guidebook and lesson plans, a Slow Food plaque, and mentoring with experienced gardeners to learn about organic farming.  In return, winners will plant a school garden this Fall, record their work in a portfolio, and offer their students a taste experience with their harvest, all in an effort to promote a healthier, more sustainable food system and educate children about making more informed food and nutrition choices.  More school garden grants will be offered in Spring 2011 for interested educators.  Slow Food First Coast is a non-profit organization that promotes a food system based on quality and pleasure, environmental sustainability, and social justice.

If you are interested in being a sponsor for a garden in the next grant, click here for more information!