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"Those community gardens could be classrooms"

October 12, 2009

On Friday, October 9, Nick attended City Club’s“A Conversation about Farm to school Initiatives, From the Local to the National,” with speakers Deborah Kane, Ecotrust Food & FarmsVice President, and Kristy Obbink, PPS Nutrition ServicesDirector.

The pair discussed the history of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, work underway to improve school meals in Portland Public Schools, and efforts around the state and the nation to “teach children where their food comes from and create opportunities for local farmers to provide their harvest to schools.”

Following their presentation, Nick asked how comunity gardens could bolster this effort. “Our vision for the children who are growing food products and then eating them in the cafeteris needn’t be exclusive to school grounds,” Deborah answered. “Why are we not having field trips out to the community gardens that exist all over Portland? Who are those master gardeners who are volunteers in gardens at the community level not integrated back into the schools and coming in and teaching kids about what’s going on in the garden?”

"We really need to be much more expansive about what we consider to be the classroom," she said. "Those community gardens could be classrooms, they could be vital partners, it could all be so beautifully, wholly integrated."  

She concluded, "Let’s make that happen, Commissioner Fish." We agree.

Click hereto listen to the discussion.

Thanks to flickr user neighborhood notes pdx for this photo of the Woodlawn Community Garden.