4-H Secures Grant Funding for Elementary Schools
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Situation: The average student is three generations removed from the farm and has little to no knowledge of where their food comes from. 4-H addresses this need through Soil Solutions School Enrichment, providing a hands-on learning experience for children to grow their own food in raised-bed school gardens. The gardens at two of three elementary schools are aging and will not adequately meet the needs of growing class sizes. None of the current garden structures are handicap-accessible.
Response: Madison County 4-H applied for Go Outside (GO) Grants through the NC Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, on behalf of Brush Creek and Mars Hill Elementary Schools, to secure funding for the school gardens. We worked with the principals and teachers to create a vision for improving the gardens to ensure the future of quality gardening experiences at school through 4-H Soil Solutions School Enrichment. We also prioritized adding handicap-accessible raised beds so that all children have equal access to growing their own food.
Results: Both schools were awarded the full amount of funding requested, totaling $9,085. Mars Hill Elementary is receiving $5,300 and Brush Creek Elementary is receiving $3,785. N.C. Cooperative Extension of Madison County will be coordinating with both schools to see through the purchase and construction of these new garden facilities. This ensures the continued success of 4-H Soil Solutions School Enrichment for about 120 students at both schools, where many learn to grow food for the first time. The upgrades afforded by the GO Grant funds will support additional 4-H School Enrichment programs on pollinators and conservation, expanding our potential to reach up to 650 students in first through fourth grades.
We look forward to sharing pictures and successes of the new 4-H Soil Solutions school gardens in 2021!