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Renee ShephardWould you like to help an amazing school? Here's a really simple, and totally painless way. Our friend, Renee Shepherd, owner of Reneesgarden.com (Renee's Garden Seeds), is making a wonderful offer. If you go to her website and order seed, and use this code when you order: FR556A, she will donate 25% of the price of the seed you order, to the Jonesboro School to Kitchen Garden Program. Isn't that great? So, go to her website and order some seed, being sure to use the FR556A coupon code.

We have been fans of Renee's seed collections for years. I love her selections of salad greens, squashes and herbs. She also offers something I really like, which is combining several varieties together. Like her Summer Scallop Trio, for example, which has 3 different colors of patty pan squashes in a packet, that way you don't have to buy several packets just to get 2 or 3 plants! And she tests her varieties first and only offers vegetables and herbs that will perform really well in your garden. She has very generously donated seed for the kids' garden this year and the kids and teachers will be planting in a few days. Meanwhile, order some seed for your garden and know you are also helping out this wonderful kids' garden project!

A couple of months back Melinda Smith from the Health, Wellness and Environmental Studies Magnet School, in Jonesboro, Arkansas contacted me, asking for suggestions about adding an herb garden to their school garden project. I was pleased to be asked and have more ideas than good sense.

School Courtyard Garden ProjectI admit I was startled to find a school in Arkansas with a kids garden project. I love Arkansas, it's one of the best kept secrets in America (if everyone knew how beautiful the state is, there would be a lot more people and it would lose its attraction). But anyone who knows Arkansas, also knows it is not on the cutting edge of much of anything, especially not forward-thinking school projects devoted to health and wellness.

Melinda Smith is the coordinator of the project, and she's one of those people who will not take no for an answer. Even when confronted with "that's impossible" she forges ahead and gathers people around her who can see a project move forward.

Fortunately Melinda has a group of interested fellow-teachers who are dedicated to teaching children about health and wellness and realizing the food they eat has a profound bearing on every other aspect of their lives, including how they learn, how they grow and what they become.

In an age when a high percentage of the population is overweight, and with a generation of people who think cooking from scratch involves opening a package for the microwave, the Health and Wellness Magnate School is a breath of fresh air.

In only 2 short years, this unique Jonesboro school has generated enough grants to pay for several raised beds, a very small greenhouse and some seed, in previous years. They've used up the money and have spent it well. In spite of having to deal with an enclosed courtyard that is infested with the deadly Bermuda grass (deadly because it is so tenacious it comes up through plastic or paving - I've even seen it find its way through asphalt!) the kids held their first plant sale last year with plants they'd grown in the greenhouse. They produced vegetables and greens which they used in the impressive teaching kitchen lab.

Rabbits given to the SchoolTwo homeless rabbits were given to the school and they are at home in one of the courtyards. Remember how Peter Rabbit's mother gave him chamomile tea when Peter ate too many carrots from father McGreggor's garden? These rabbits are well behaved and the children love them.

This year, the teachers want to move this garden ahead. Our friend, Renee Shepherd of Renees Garden has generously donated lots of seed for their beds and greenhouse, she has some of the best mixtures of seeds, always outstanding performers in our gardens here). Our friends, Olee and Sharon Jobe at Spring Fever Greenhouse have donated several bags of potting soil and pots for the greenhouse.

The garden has its own blog where the teachers and kids post photos and updates on their garden. I urge you to go check it out, and sign up to Follow. (It's free, you don't have to do anything, just receive a note when they post new information, it's a great way to show your support). This is a project that has had a lot of "no" answers when they've asked for help. Many in their local community have been less than sympathetic or encouraging, so sign up as a follower and let them know you support what they are doing. I'll be posting more soon, but I wanted you to know about this really great garden project for kids.

We have been fans of Renee's seed collections for years. I love her selections of salad greens, squashes and herbs. She also offers something I really like, which is combining several varieties together. Like her Summer Scallop Trio, for example, which has 3 different colors of patty pan squashes in a packet, that way you don't have to buy several packets just to get 2 or 3 plants! And she tests her varieties first and only offers vegetables and herbs that will perform really well in your garden. She has very generously donated seed for the kids' garden this year and the kids and teachers will be planting in a few days. Meanwhile, order some seed for your garden and know you are also helping out this wonderful kids' garden project!

 

 

 

 

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