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Jan. 6, 2016

 

Learning Garden at William McKinley School 39  

 

The Kitchen
Community
(TKC) has built more than 300 Learning Gardens at schools across
the country — from Denver to Los Angeles to Chicago to Memphis to Pittsburg.
Indianapolis can now be added to that growing list of cities.

 

In November, IPS’ Global Prep Academy at Riverside 44 and William McKinley School 39
were the first schools in Indianapolis to break ground on their Learning
Gardens — edible gardens that also serve as outdoor classrooms.

 

This spring, TKC will build another 18 gardens in
Indianapolis and is looking for elementary and high schools to apply. The
priority deadline for spring gardens is Jan.
12
, but applications are accepted throughout the year. Roughly 10 IPS
schools have already turned in applications.Learning Garden at William McKinley School 39

 

“In the next year and a half, we are building 48 gardens in
Indianapolis,” said Darin Delay, project manager and director at The Kitchen
Community, a non-profit organization based in Boulder, Colo., and co-founded by
entrepreneur and restauranteur Kimbal Musk. “We’re building 18 gardens in the
spring, and 30 new gardens between July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.”

 

Within four years, TKC expects to have at least 100 Learning
Gardens at IPS, township and charter schools throughout Marion County.

 

Laura Henderson, program manager at The Kitchen Community in
Indianapolis, said TKC is currently focusing on installing the gardens at IPS
schools, but are also in talks with Lawrence and Warren township schools.

 

Although each garden is different — customizable based on
the needs and space of the school — most are designed using 12 modular raised
beds that stand 19 inches tall, complete with natural seating and shade
structures. After designs have been approved, it usually takes five to seven
days to build.

 

Learning Garden at William McKinley School 39 The gardens are maintained by the school’s Garden Team (made
up of school community members) through support from local TKC garden educators.
These educators teach everything from technical gardening skills to food
literacy to classroom management and even provide support selecting a specific
curriculum track.

 

Classrooms plant, grow, harvest and eat produce from the gardens.
Teachers augment the experience and impact of their garden through the
integration of curriculum, lessons and activities vetted and approved by The
Kitchen Community, according to the TKC website.

 

“The benefit of Learning Gardens for students and schools is
the access to real food. It’s also another teaching tool that schools can use,”
said Delay. “It’s an outdoor classroom as much as it is a garden. You can teach
STEM curriculum and you can teach and do a number of things out there. But I
think it gives schools a platform and a tool to get out of a traditional
classroom and make the subjects essentially more interesting and engaging. Kids
learn how to grow real food, where it comes from, how to taste it, how to cook
it and harvest it.”

 

TKC reaches nearly 100,000 students around the country each
day through the Learning Gardens. The goal is one million schools in 10 regions
by 2020.

 

To access the Learning Garden application and to learn more
about The Kitchen Community, visit www.thekitchencommunity.org