The Spirit Mountain Community Fund has helped 807 non-profits in Oregon since 1997. We have been delighted to partner with organizations committed to social justice, community resilience and self-sufficiency. Here are some of our stories:
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School Garden Project
We are the School Garden Project.
Here is our story:
In earlier days, we were an agrarian society and raising our own food was common place. Today’s children see food coming from grocery stores, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants. They’ve lost touch with the origins of food—farms and ranches where food products are cultivated and nurtured for our sustenance.
As childhood obesity rates skyrocket and families struggle to meet basic needs, garden projects are being created to create low cost, healthy food alternatives for children and families. The School Garden Project in Eugene helps schools educate their students about food and basic science principles using school garden projects. Over 650 children were served in 2008/09 in Lane County.
Here’s what Jared Pruch of the School Garden Project had to say about their work,
“One of our favorite aspects of school gardening is watching students try new vegetables for the first time. After planting and tending their crops during garden sessions, they are invested in the final product and are eager to taste what they’ve grown; even when it’s an unfamiliar plant such as kohlrabi (kids love the crunchy texture and mild flavor), kale (we eat it raw in the winter when its leaves are nice and sweet), or arugula (the flowers are delicious when the plant starts to go to seed). At the end of each garden session, we lead a ‘tasting tour’ of the garden in which students can customize a fresh garden salad of whatever is available that season: lettuce, green onions, peas, radishes, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes. After getting over some initial reluctance to try garden fresh vegetables, eating usually becomes their favorite part of the garden sessions.”
Not only do children get the hands on experience of growing a garden and creating their own food source, but they get the chance to see real-world applications of scientific concepts that they are learning about in their classrooms. Students learn hands on about microorganisms and ecosystems and watch them come to life in their school gardens. Students also learn about the role of insects in pollinating crops or worms in improving soil health.
Spirit Mountain made a $5,000 grant to the School Garden Project serving Lane County youth. That money allowed children to grow their own food, learn basic science concepts and experience healthy eating in a new outdoor environment. Our hope is that it has a lifelong impact on their health and well being.