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Fall 2019 Recap

We Built Our 178th School Garden!

Green Our Planet’s fall garden builds have engaged the community with four schools.

  • Cashman Middle School
    • Cashman Middle School, in the heart of Las Vegas, built their new school garden on August 31 thanks to the Cashman Family Foundation.
  • Lorna Kesterson Elementary School
    • Lorna Kesterson Elementary School built their beautiful school garden with the help of community volunteers, including Representative Susie Lee on September 28.
  • Ruthe Deskin Elementary School
    • Breaking the record for fastest school garden build ever, volunteers from school garden program-sponsor Sysco Las Vegas knocked the garden build at Ruthe Deskin Elementary school out of the park in just 90 minutes on October 12.
  • J E Manch Elementary School
    • At J E Manch Elementary School in North Las Vegas, the community came together to build a school garden on November 9, which will compliment the school’s existing hydroponics program. The school’s school garden program is sponsored by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

CTA Supports Las Vegas School Gardens

Since 2015, the Consumer Technology Association (producer of CES) has helped fund the building of 36 school gardens in Las Vegas, impacting over 30,000 students. This year, we’ve built school gardens at Schorr Elementary, Conners Elementary, Walker Elementary and Robison Middle School with a generous grant from CTA. Thank you to CTA for impacting over 5,000 more students this year alone!

Teacher Training Plants the Seeds

In September, we held our first teaching training of the 2019-20 school year: STEAM 101. At the sold-out training, teachers learned how to integrate their school garden into their lesson plans and school community. Teachers learned from master gardeners and veteran teachers who taught them gardening principles and how to adapt lessons to the school garden. Teachers spent time in grade-level breakout sessions exploring and preparing lessons from Green Our Planet’s standards-aligned garden curriculum to teach students experiential STEM lessons in the garden. Teachers then chose a project to benefit their outdoor classroom space and community to share their newfound knowledge. 

Teachers assemble hydroponics units at the Hydroponics Teacher Training.

On Saturday, November 2, 60 teachers joined Green Our Planet’s hydroponics team to learn how to create engaging STEM learning experiences by using hydroponics, which allows students to grow plants inside without soil. Green Our Planet’s hydroponics experts showed attendees how to germinate seeds, transplant seedlings and properly maintain a hydroponics system. They also learned how to harvest the produce from a hydroponic system and how to use the produce to teach students about healthy eating, through chef demos and salad bars, and financial literacy through school-organized farmers markets. Teachers also got hands-on hydroponics experience, collaborating with others to design and build a system out of recycled materials. They walked away with newfound confidence and exciting STEM opportunities to integrate into their classrooms.

Chef-to-School Program Continues to Bloom

Green Our Planet is about to bring more healthy nutrition education than ever to Nevada students and their parents. Thanks to a grant from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Green Our Planet’s Chef-to-School Program will have the funds to impact more students with hands-on chef demos and expand to include programming that helps parents create healthy meals for their families. 

Green Our Planet’s Nutrition Chef Lisa and Brett Ottolenghi from Artisanal Foods prepare a healthy recipe for students.

Last year, the Chef-to-School Program provided more than 100 schools with on-campus cooking demonstrations taught by health and nutrition professionals and chefs from partners such as Wynn Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, Honey Salt, Fruits & Roots and other local restaurants. The cooking demonstrations show students how to prepare nutritious recipes using produce grown in their school gardens. The demos also educate students on the health benefits of fruits and vegetables as a part of a balanced diet—and may even inspire students to follow a culinary or nutrition career. With funding from DHHS, the Chef-to-School Program will reach more schools, impacting over 15,000 students in the 2019-20 school year. “We’re proud to support Green Our Planet’s work to improve nutrition education for Nevada students and are excited to see the results of the parent program,” said Beth Handler, Deputy Director of Programs of DHHS.

We’re excited to expand the Chef-to-School Program with DHHS and help more Nevada students and their families learn about healthy nutrition!

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Samantha West

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