FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The “buzz” is: School Gardens Are Sprouting in Ontario
2nd Annual School Garden Day Toronto, Friday May 23rd!!!
School gardens are shooting up across Ontario, increasing students’ access to outdoor physical activities and to fresh, healthy foods. In 2013 the “Imagine A Garden In Every School” Campaign (IGES) launched a survey to learn more about what’s happening with school gardens in Ontario. Of those surveyed, 85% are using their gardens to increase healthy eating and nutrition, and 74% were started in the last 5 years.
Obesity rates among children are rising, food skills plummeting, and school-aged children, regardless of income, are not eating adequately healthy meals. The Heart and Stroke Foundation notes that 70% of children age 4-8 do not get the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. The “Imagine a Garden in Every School” campaign uses gardens to not only feed children better during the school day, but to integrate food literacy into the curriculum.
For the second year, IGES is inviting schools across Ontario to participate in School Garden Day to foster community spirit, celebrate local food systems and connect children and youth to healthy living. On Friday, May 23 any class or whole school can participate — even something as simple as an indoor plant is enough to qualify for participation. All schools will receive a certificate and can share their photos by emailing them to IGES and/or using #SchoolGardenDay on Twitter.
IGES, housed in Toronto’s Green Thumbs Growing Kids, is working to link a groundswell of groups across Ontario to encourage, support, and champion a garden in every school. By doing so they create opportunities for children and youth to learn about ecosystems, experience healthy active living, practice life skills, and discover the benefits of fresh food. Through an online interactive story map, links to funding opportunities, regionally targeted tool-kits, and information about best practices, webinars, and workshops, IGES makes it easier for people to start and maintain school gardens. IGES and their partners are working with Ontario school boards as they consider and pass policies to support and encourage school gardens, often with safety considerations relating to soils and outdoor education.
Twitter: @GardInSchools, hashtag #SchoolGardenDay! For more information, visit the IGES website at www.agardenineveryschool.ca or email Sunday Harrison or Cassie Scott at email@example.com. To contact IGES by mail send to Green Thumbs Growing Kids, 467 Parliament St., P.O. Box 82874, Toronto ON, M5A 3A3
The IGES Steering Committee is supported by EcoSource, FoodShare, Green Thumbs Growing Kids, Seeds For Change, and Ontario Agri-Food Education. Campaign members are also on the Steering Committee of the Ontario Edible Education Network housed at Sustain Ontario.