School gardens sprout up with help of community


By Sue Cody


W2W Clatsop Kids Go gardensThe Clatsop Kids GO program at county elementary schools is celebrating spring with the planting of vegetables in garden boxes built for the occasion. The program was designed by The Way to Wellville to help students develop healthy eating habits; healthy behaviors; healthy body image; healthy emotional development; and learning skills, such as growing their own food.


If kids grow their own vegetables, they’re more likely to eat them. A Cornell study concluded that when school garden-grown vegetables were added to school salads, kids were more than four times as likely to take a salad.


“A garden offers a rich learning environment,” says Seaside Master Gardener Mary Blake. “A garden is a practical, magical, beneficial path to awareness. It increases their access to sun and fresh air. They become less stressed and can become productive in a learning environment that includes science – biology, botany, healthy soil, pollination. It gives them a deep relationship with nature.”


Brown says, “It is awesome to see a vision of kids being able to participate in gardening and access  healthy foods at school. It’s therapeutic and nutritious, and also takes physical effort to sustain, which are some of the central goals of Clatsop Kids GO.”


Clatsop Kids Go - dirtCommunity steps in


The program was seeded with a $40,000 grant from Providence Community Benefit fund, and has sprouted interest from numerous businesses and volunteers since its inception. U.S. Bank contributed $5,000 and others have supplied time, funds and materials.


Master Gardener volunteers Barbara and Ed Hassan built the raised garden boxes from donated materials.


“I would love to give a big shout out to the forestry industry for their collaboration to make the gardens possible,” says Clatsop Kids Go coordinator Sarah Brown.


Donations were made by:

• Hampton Lumber – wood for the boxes

• Teevin and Fischer Quarry – soil

• 3D Landscaping – time and use of machines

• Greenwood Resources – money for supplies

• Lewis and Clark Timberlands – money for supplies



Students and teachers embraced the garden concept and sprouted seeds in their classrooms.


Clatsop Kids Go - dirt 2“The kids are so excited to see the progress and taking ownership of the project,” says teacher Meghan Garsjo, as she shovels soil to fill the planters.


“Teachers, students and parents as well as other community volunteers are really making it all possible,” Brown says.


“Way to Wellville and Clatsop Kids GO are happy to start these projects and get the ball rolling, coordinating efforts. But for the project to be sustainable, it makes the most sense that the school shows genuine interest and effort. And Lewis and Clark Elementary has done that.”