“Students become leaders in educating their families and broader community about food insecurity, sustainable agriculture, and the positive health benefits of gardening. The students themselves reap academic, social-emotional and life skills”
EGC’s Living Campus Program partners with schools to create garden-centered educational settings promoting physical activity, social justice, empathy-building, civic engagement, and STEM learning. EGC collaborates with schools to design garden-centered outdoor educational settings that fit within the school’s educational goals, and then assist with installation, maintenance, and harvesting of produce grown within the gardens for donation to EGC’s food distribution partners. Being in a school setting allows EGC to amplify its educational goals around food security, environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture by influencing hundreds of students per campus on a daily basis.
School administrators adopt and promote curriculum and learning that incorporates these educational goals, and students are immersed in a campus designed to help the food insecure in their communities. Such curriculum in a garden learning environment has tremendous, well-documented positive effects on students. As the students themselves build competence and interest in agriculture as a means of effecting positive social change, the students then become leaders in educating their families and broader community about food insecurity, sustainable agriculture, and the positive health benefits of gardening. The students themselves reap academic, social-emotional and life skills benefits as well. Importantly, the volunteer teams EGC builds for each school setting are composed of families and employees from the school, as well as neighbors in the immediate area surrounding the school.
By building the teams in this fashion, EGC is literally building community and allowing volunteers to benefit from intergenerational interactions all centered around a philanthropic mission. Parents and students become more engaged in their school as it represents a mission beyond just their learning, resulting in increased family investment in their school site. Further, volunteering families are able to interact and build stronger ties with school district employees outside of the educational setting, which increases the bonds, support and trust within the educational setting.