Franklin Elementary School was notified that it is a recipient of an $850 Farm to School Mini-Grant from the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Agriculture.
The grants are designed to provide students with access to fresh, healthy food that is sourced locally.
The Franklin grant was written by community member Diane Ford and Principal Teresa Doumont. The grant money will be used to provide hands-on learning opportunities for Franklin students to partner with the Samuel and Anna Mae Richardson Bethel Park Community Garden, which is located within walking distance to the school.
Through this grant, Franklin students will work with Bethel Park High School students in the STAND (Standing Together Against Negativity and Discrimination) group to plant vegetable seeds in starter pots. The Franklin students will water the seeds and when the plants are large enough, they will take the plants to the Community Garden and plant them. Students will also have the opportunity to help to weed and water the garden over the summer as the vegetables grow. Students will also be able to enjoy some of the food that will be harvested over the summer at the garden, when a professional chef will cook some of the food for the students to enjoy.
In the fall when they return to school, students will be able to participate in some taste tests of the foods that were grown in the Community Garden, as well as enjoy a free salad in the school cafeteria, made from the vegetables from the garden.
This will be the fourth year that Franklin and Bethel Park High School students will partner with the Community Garden. “This grant provides an exciting opportunity for our students to be a part of this hands-on learning experience,” said Franklin Principal Teresa Doumont. “The students look forward to working with the high school students to plant their seeds, and it is exciting for them not only to see these plants sprout from seeds, but to also be able to personally walk their seedlings to the Community Garden and plant them in the ground.
“Many of our students visit the Garden over the summer to monitor the growth of their plants and to help keep the Garden going. The most exciting part for them is to be able to enjoy a salad made from the vegetables that they helped to plant and grow.
“We appreciate the continued partnership with the Ford Family, who donated the land for the Garden, to provide this hands-on learning opportunity for our students. We are also extremely appreciative of the grant, which will help to defray some of the costs associated with the project.”