Today’s Tulsa World included a great article about the Global Gardens summer program at Rosa Parks Elementary School. For those who don’t know Global Gardens uses gardening and hands-on science to empower low-income kids and communities. Here in Tulsa it has done just that! The program at Rosa Parks faced the challenge of providing meals to participants after the schools Summer Food Program closes at the end of June. In previous years, program staff made meals on a single hot plate. From my own college experience, I know it can be difficult to make a meal for one or two people on a hot plate, let alone 20 kids plus program staff. While brainstorming what to do to solve this problem one of the kids in the program suggested an earthen oven like those his family in Mexico uses to cook enchiladas, tamales, and even bread. The staff looked into the idea and put the plan into action. Soon, they will have a fully functioning earthen oven in their communal garden.
The one thing that really struck me about this story was how program staff included participants in the problem-solving process and also in the follow through. This really highlights how programs like Global Gardens empower kids. It teaches them how to face challenges head on and implement solutions, which is a valuable lesson for every person to learn, not just low-income children. It also seems that the program is fostering a desire to improve their communities, which is demonstrated in two quotes from participants.
First, from Erendira a fifth grader:
“Since the free lunch program ends when summer school ends, I was that thinking maybe we should make a lot of food in the oven,” Erendira said.
“Then, we can gather all the food and take field trips around the neighborhoods and apartments and see if anybody wants food, because some people can’t afford it.”
And this one from Romaldo, the fifth grader who suggested the earthen oven idea:
“It’s not just about us planting plants, it’s … helping other people, learning about plants, and how to provide things to make the community better,” he said.
“We’re small, but we can do big things.”
Gosh, I just want to give those kids a great big high-five!
From this little corner of Tulsa, congratulations to the Global Gardens participants at Rosa Parks, and I personally can’t wait to see the great things you all will be doing in the future!
To read more about this story in the Tulsa World, click here.
To read more about Global Gardens, click here.