Giving Compass' Take:

• This Getting Smart post profiles an organization called Big Green which is attempting to promote health and nutrition in school districts across the country through "learning gardens."

• How might other nonprofits in the education space learn from Big Green's example? In what ways can we develop sustainable food practices for our children?

• Here's how school nutrition programs can reduce student obesity.

Personally, food is my love language. Its how I show people I love them and breaking bread with someone is how I feel connected. Meeting local growers at the farmers market on the weekend makes cooking even more enjoyable. From the time my daughter could stand, she joined me in the kitchen and is learning about how to eat healthily and appreciate where our food comes from. I have long appreciated community and school gardens but worried that they often didn’t connect to student learning and create a lasting impact.

When I heard about the work of Big Green I was intrigued and reached out to Kate Waller, who manages their national growth to learn more.

Big Green is ”building a national school food culture that promotes youth wellness.” Through food literacy programs and a network of Learning Gardens, students, parents and teachers are connected through robust food culture. They are currently located in seven cities in the United States, focused on underserved schools. Big Green Learning Gardens are a wonderful example of place-based education that connects community and schools with a focus on sustainability, equity and access.

Their gardens, built in partnerships with schools are ADA accessible, inviting and exciting for students, teachers, and parents. In fact, in the schools in which they operate, they have seen a 22% increase in parent involvement because of their ability to volunteer in the learning gardens. Gardening and growing food have created a bridge for parents who may not otherwise have felt like they had a place in their children’s school.

Read the full article about learning gardens and equity by Caroline Vander Ark at Getting Smart.