Indian River School District-wide expansion to bring HFHK gardens to 4 more schools

In January, HFHK Executive Director, Lydia Sarson, and Program Manager, Jen Cipolla, presented to nine elementary school principals in the Indian River School District (IRSD). This invitation came from Kelly Dorman, Director of Elementary Education for the district, after hearing of the program’s success at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School.

“The Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids program has been a wonderful addition at Phillip Showell. I am thankful that my students have had the opportunity to experience gardening from start to finish. Many of my students would never have this opportunity outside of school. As a school administrator, I love that the program ties to our Next Generation Science standards,” stated Christy Kerr, Principal. “This is so valuable for student learning and allows the teachers to see it as an integral part of learning and not just ‘one more thing’. Finally, after COVID, where we were all separated, it has been a wonderful activity to draw us back together as a school with a common goal.”

John. M Clayton will be the first school to join HFHK’s ‘Education Cultivation’ program, starting this spring. Volunteers and staff built the garden on April 1 and students will begin planting on April 8. “At this moment in education, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a huge element of developing the whole child in school. I believe that building this relationship with Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids will allow each one of our students to learn how to become a healthier individual, which will in turn affect their social and emotional well-being. “Being a small part of a big production like this creates a team atmosphere and a sense of purpose all while teaching students the importance of cultivating their taste buds. Hopefully, the lessons will positively affect their education as well. Ultimately, our goal is to plant the seed and hope our school is able to reap the benefits of the program,” said Allisa Booth, Principal at John M. Clayton.

East Millsboro, Lord Baltimore and ELC will join Fall 2022. ELC will be HFHK’s first foray into an early learning program. This garden was funded by Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant. Thank you to DDA for supporting HFHK’s ‘Education Cultivation’ program and statewide expansion. To read more: “Green thumbs to spark young science minds at JMC”, Coastal Point.

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