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Students learn lessons good enough to eat at the Edible Schoolyard

March 25, 2011

Loyola University New Orleans students have partnered with the Edible Schoolyard at Samuel F. Green Charter School, a project that teaches young students the value of healthy eating and how to grow organic produce in their own back yard.

“We have about a third of an acre of an organic garden. The kids have had their hands in everything from the design with crayon drawings, to putting the seeds in the ground to harvesting their food and learning how to cook it,” said Samuel F. Green’s Kelly Regan.

While students at Samuel F. Green grow, cook and eat their own food, teachers also use the garden as an opportunity to explain the science behind the meal.

“Our gardening and cooking teachers meet with the classroom teachers and coordinate their teaching plans so we can design our garden lessons to what kids are learning in their classrooms. For non-traditional learners, they come outside and have the opportunity to learn the same information in a different way.”

Loyola students have worked with Samuel F. Green charter school since 2008 and Loyola’s Office of Service Learning director Kelly Brotzman says the Edible Schoolyard program is one of the most popular service learning assignments among students.

“As a program, the Edible Schoolyard does everything right and the students love it,” Brotzman said. “Students could volunteer at any number of schools in the area, but working there gives them the opportunity to interface with a lot of different social issues – from access to healthy, affordable food for kids, to the need for quality public education, to the science behind the garden.”

Loyola freshman Noah Walker agrees.

“It’s a good opportunity to step out of the campus. There’s a lot outside of uptown New Orleans that needs paying attention to, that’s for sure,” said Walker. “One of the most important things is public education, especially in this city. It’s good to get an up close view and see that the charter schools are doing something worthwhile.”

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