By SUSAN JACOBSE
What do First Lady Michelle Obama, First Lady of California Maria Shriver, and the First Lady of American organic cuisine have in common with the kids at Bonita Middle School?
They are all changing the landscape of education, nutrition, and cooking by planting Edible Gardens. On July 28th, 2009 ground was officially broken on the edible schoolyard garden for Bonita Springs Middle School. The kids, teachers, administrators, volunteers, staff, parents and community members toiled long hours in the Florida sun on the last days of July to plant the garden.
Last Spring, the kids were taken on a field trip to ECHO to learn about the edible garden, and the next day were taken on another field trip to learn from local chefs exactly what you can do with the incredible locally grown fruits and vegetables. Who knows, maybe we have in our midst the inspirations for the next Top Chef.
Global Farm (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, or ECHO) and the Bonita Springs Community Foundation have teamed up to create an edible schoolyard garden for Bonita Springs Middle School. A $3,000 check from the Community Foundation was presented to Bonita Springs Middle School which will underwrite the planting of the garden.
The entire landscape of the school has changed. The beauty of the garden is the first thing the children see each day as they arrive to school. The Butterfly garden in front of the school just recently received a generous gift of the addition of beautiful garden stepping stones.
So from one parent, a big thanks to ECHO, the Bonita Springs Community Foundation, the entire staff of Bonita Middle and all the countless other business and local community members who helped make this garden a reality.
As the executive director of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools Inc., Marshall T. Bower, Esq. recently stated: “The edible schoolyard garden project at Bonita Springs Middle School will be an integral part of the school-wide effort to become a world class school promoting good citizenship, the importance of studying hard and attaining good grades and preparation for career training and a college education. The vision for Bonita Springs Middle School is to offer every student the opportunity to begin preparing for a productive and fulfilling career through scholarship opportunities and civic involvement.”