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Green Lessons: Gardening in New York Schools

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Green Lessons: Gardening in New York Schools

Healthy, organic and local food new subjects for students.

In first Lady Michelle Obama’s battle against childhood obesity and raising awareness of healthy eating habits, one of her main battlegrounds has been the schools themselves – with the aim of changing the way kids eat not only when they get home, but in the place where they spend most of their time. Many schools around the nation, especially in New York, have been tackling the subject of healthy, organic and local food, with “hands-on” lessons that include watering lettuce, zucchini and strawberries in the various rooftop gardens that many schools have adopted.

The Greenhouse Project is an experimental solution that was first adopted by the Manhattan School for Children and features a greenhouse with a hydroponic irrigation system that allows planting without soil and takes advantage of rain water, wind and solar energy. The vegetable garden is able to produce 8,000 kg of vegetables a year and the greenhouse company is hoping to install the same system in more than one thousand institutes around the city.

A more traditional solution is the one adopted by the Somers Central School District. Guided by the teacher Maddy Manzella, who, among other awards, has been named the NYSUT's "School-Related Professional of the Year", she has been helping the district to develop a series of sustainable vegetable gardens as an educational tool for young students, where they can tend to an observe the planting and growing of various vegetables and then cook them all together as a class.

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