Gardens are important not only to teach kids that there's a big wide world of nature outside the concrete confines of our city but to introduce children to the why's and wherefore's of growing things, even food and the good nutrition that comes from fresh, locally grown produce.
It's a bit of a struggle establishing gardens in the schools here in the District of Columbia. That's where the D.C. Schoolyard Greening organization comes in. And this year, taking a cue from California, where hefty amounts of funding are devoted to school gardens, we decided to designate one week in the year to promote the school gardening effort.
After months of planning and organizing, School Garden Week is here. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty issued a proclamation, we held a garden photo contest and everything seemed to fall into place. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, D.C. Department of the Environment Director Howard S. Hawkins, Ward 4 D.C. Council Member Muriel Bowser--they all stayed to help hand out awards to the photo contest winners gathered at LaSalle Elementary School.
We had more than 100 entries from nine different schools. My rough estimate is that more than half the winners showed up yesterday to collect their prizes, including Grand Prize winner Nell Koring, an 11th-grader from Wilson Sernior High, shown here with Chancellor Rhee and Director Hawkins.
Tonight, we hold a panel discussion on how to create a school garden and work it into the curriculum. I'll be bringing the food...