This month, Conscious Alliance partnered with The Kitchen [Community], a Boulder-based 501(c)(3), dedicated to connecting the youth to nutritious food and sustainable living, to create an outdoor ‘Learning Garden’ and play space for the Pine Ridge Elementary School in South Dakota.
The Kitchen [Community] creates connections to nutritious foods by designing Learning Gardens in schools and community organizations across America. This imaginative learning space is intended to help decrease childhood obesity, improve academic performance, and empower the local community. With our shared youth empowerment mission, the partnership came naturally.
The installation took place on Monday, May 13, 2013 when the Conscious Alliance team put together and completed the garden with the help of the students of Pine Ridge School. Students were excited about creating the garden—they grabbed buckets and shovels to dump the soil into the plant beds and the younger children raced one another to see who could fill up the garden beds fastest. They planted vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers, and even helped install the irrigation system!
Each class enjoyed snacks provided by Clif Bar while they learned some gardening basics during a question and answer period with the CA team. The students and teachers truly enjoyed getting out of the classroom to help create their new experiential play space and classroom—they also didn’t mind getting little dirty.
As a long-term outreach effort, the garden will give these students a chance to grow their own food, and create a sustainable source of nutrition on the reservation. It will also help teach the Lakota youth healthy eating habits and learn the process of growing fresh food. This space will cultivate self-empowerment by giving youth a chance to witness what hard work and dedication can produce. This sense of accomplishment builds self-esteem and self-respect. We look forward to our next visit to the Reservation to see what the kids have learned and how the garden has grown!
To see more pictures from our Learning Garden installation day, check out our Facebook page!
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