- Author: Angelica Perez
Mrs. Roxie Schallberg quickly acknowledged that implementing the Lowe's garden grant required more than just a vision. After Madison Elementary received the grant money, there were steps to take with the district, school and maintenance staff to make this vision come to life.
To begin the garden project, Angelica Perez, UC CalFresh coordinator, supported Mrs. Roxie Schallberger in applying for the grant. Once the grant was awarded she was able to guide her in scheduling a meeting to help her in the initial steps to begin the grant implementation. In the meeting was Madison Principal Mercedes Ochoa, and Curtis Manganaan, Director of Maintenance and Operations for the district. They both played a key role in helping to identify barriers and solutions and how to bring together a new garden at the school site. As the meeting ended, all the information and next steps where identified and the garden vision was soon becoming a reality.
The garden beds were recommended to be built by Ripperdan Community Day School in Madera, CA. Students in Mr. Scanlan's wood shop class were tasked with building the wooden garden beds and benches for Madison. Maintenance staff are also much appreciated for the design of the garden location, leveling the ground, fencing off the area and in making the garden area nice and easy to use. Finally, the “We Believe in Healthy Living" Madison Mavericks garden sign came in after the beds and benches were in place. The garden is now ready to be fully used. Although the original plan for the Madison garden took a turn in the beginning planning changes, the new location and design was even better than the original plan.
The We Believe in Healthy Living Garden at Madison Elementary was a big team effort that created impactful connections with Mrs. Schallberger, Madison Staff, UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, Lowe's, Ripperdan Community Day School and the school district and maintenance staff. All of these collaborations and contributions make the Madison Mavericks We Believe in Healthy Living garden project even more special. The school looks forward to its official garden opening day next year and will plan to have lessons in the garden for all grade levels that wish to participate. Below are some pictures detailng the progress of the garden.
- Author: Nancy R. Zumkeller
First harvest is always an exciting time when gardening, but this first harvest proved to be extra special for a group of women and their children at Fresno Rescue Mission's Rescue the Children residential treatment program. RTC is a protected, secure environment that provides emergency and long-term services to at-risk, abused, homeless, or previously incarcerated women or women with children. UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program Fresno has been providing nutrition education to Rescue the Children for over five years and now garden education and support has been added to that collaboration. A conversation in a nutrition education class about the importance of fruits and vegetables led to the residents' expressing interest in gardening and asking how to grow your own vegetables. The UC CalFresh Garden Team leapt into action to collaborate with RTC residents to plan and implement a sustainable garden. This 12-18 month residential program for women and women with children continually receives new residents, but they all have the opportunity to learn and work in the garden and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The women's prior experience with gardening was varied. Some shared fond memories of working in a garden with their grandparents or parents when they were children. Most had minimal experience but all were eager and willing to learn and work. UC CalFresh provided support through garden and nutrition education, seeds, seedlings and various garden supplies and tools. UC Master Gardener's were invited to collaborate. They were introduced to the women of RTC and provided weekly garden education classes ranging in topics from basic gardening, irrigation, maintenance and composting. A Master Gardener even donated several gardening books to the RTC library for the residents to refer to for guidance and research including a copy of the California Master Gardener Handbook, which is considered the definitive guide to best practices and advice for gardeners throughout the West.
The facility had ample space for a garden, but there was still lots of work to do such as clearing weeds, un-stacking the raised garden beds that had been empty for a long time, and understanding how to work the existing drip irrigation system that had not been utilized to its full capabilities. Finally, in September 2017 the garden was planted. Radishes, spinach, potatoes, carrots, and squash were some of the vegetables that were planted. Cilantro and rosemary was also planted in the garden beds. Although some beds produced more than others, all the residents enjoyed sharing this experience with each other as well as with their children. “I loved coming out here in the evening with my son to pull weeds and check on the garden. It's so peaceful out here,” stated one of the residents. Another resident compared growing a garden to nurturing a child. She stated you care for and love your child by tending to their needs the same way you would for the plants in the garden.
Learning all about drip irrigation from a Master Gardener
Planted and labeled!
The farm to table movement has definitely become a part of Rescue the Children's resident's daily lives. In addition to the garden, a composting area has been maintained with the community kitchen scraps. Learning about composting has been practical and useful. Many women stated they had never realized how kitchen scraps could be beneficial to a garden. The first harvest in November provided many delicious vegetables that the kitchen staff used in preparation for the Thanksgiving meal. Everything harvested from the garden is used in the community kitchen for all to enjoy. This hands-on learning experience has impacted not only over 35 adult residents of RTC but over 20 school-aged children as well. The hard work and rewards of the garden are providing a valuable experience for everyone. The lessons on nutrition and gardening will be remembered long after the women have graduated from RTC. They have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their families.
Composting bins ready for kitchen scraps!/span>
- Author: Angelica Perez
Madison Elementary School from Madera Unified School School District has received a $5,000 Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant for a school garden project.
We are thrilled to announce that Lowe's has awarded the Madison Elementary School funding for the Madison Mavericks "WE BELIEVE" in Healthy Living! garden project. Our grant application was based on the goal of improving the learning community at Madison Elementary School. We look forward to sharing the Madison Mavericks “WE BELIEVE” in Healthy Living! garden project with the Madison Elementary and surrounding community. This garden will give the students the opportunity to learn, plant, harvest and try new foods which they will have experienced to cultivate on their own. This will ultimately nurture and improve the learning community at Madison Elementary School.
The grant application was based on the goal of implementing the garden component of the Shaping Healthy Choices Program in Mrs. Roxie Schallberger's 4th grade classroom. The Shaping Healthy Choices Program is an inquiry-based, garden enhanced nutrition education curricula developed by the Center for Nutrition in Schools at UC Davis and is being implemented in the classroom by UC CalFresh Coordinator, Angelica Perez. We are now in the planning stages of this project, but are eager to get the garden growing for the students to learn.
Mrs. Roxie Schallbereger's 4th grade class holding a thank you sign and the $5,000 check donated by Lowe's.
“Thank you Lowe's for awarding Madison Elementary this grant! Your generosity will allow our students to touch worms, smell fresh herbs, taste new foods, and see the beauty of growing healthy food!" said Mrs. Roxie Schallberger.
All K-12 public schools in the United States are eligible for the Toolbox for Education program. More information is available at www.ToolboxforEducation.com.
- Author: Christopher Deleon
- Editor: Emily Harris
Growing your own garden can help you and your family save money and eat more fruits and vegetables! You can grow edible plants in your yard, in a pot, or anywhere you have space. Most plants just need a bit of water, some sunlight, and enough soil to grow into beautiful, food producing plants. Here is how you can get started this spring:
Image Source: https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/photo-gallery/
Purchase seeds or plants.
Did you know that you can purchase edible plants and seeds with your EBT/SNAP Benefits? It's true! You can purchase any edible plant or seed from SNAP retailers and farmers markets. Click on the Ecology Center link to find the nearest farmers market near you -->Ecology Center
Image Source: https://www.snapgardens.org/
According to the USDA, "For every $1 dollar spent on seeds and fertilizer, home gardeners can grow an average of $25 worth of produce. Growing food from seeds and plants makes SNAP benefits last longer, allowing recipients to double the value of their benefits over time."
Learn more about purchasing edible plants and seeds with EBT/SNAP Benefits here.
Image Source: https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/photo-gallery/
When choosing plants, try choosing plants that grow well during April. Here's a couple of fruits and vegetables you can look for: Beets, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Melons, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes, and Watermelons.
Reduce the amount of salt you use by growing your own herbs!
Herbs are perfect to grow at home and can be planted in small containers. Use them to give your meals extra flavor without using salt. Here are some ways you can use herbs in your meals:
Image Source: Eat Healthy, Be Active Curriculum/span>