Jenks Elementary receives grant to create on-site vegetable garden

The J.S Jenks Elementary School in Chestnut Hill will soon have a brand new vegetable garden thanks to a $1,300 grant from Recyclebank.

The grant is part of Recyclebanks’ Green Schools Program, which awards grants to participating schools for environmental projects that help empower students to make a positive green impact in their schools and communities.

“Each year, we continue to be inspired by the proposals we receive from schools across the country that are taking a creative and thoughtful approach to helping solve today’s pressing environment challenges,” said Karen Bray, vice president of marketing and community solutions at Recyclebank.

Jenks parent Adam Erying, who sits on the school’s greening committee, applied for the grant last year in hopes that the school would be able to start the garden before school lets out for the summer.

“We’re hoping the students learn more about the benefits of eating nutritious food and how that leads to healthy lives,” said Erying. “Getting their hands dirty will hopefully develop an appreciation for the work it takes to raise food and the issues associated with it such as maintaining invasions by pests, sustaining a plentiful water supply, and keeping the soil fertile and sustainable.”

Fellow parent and greenining committee co-chair, Angela Stewart will be collaborating with the physical education teacher and a small group of students to talk about healthy eating, the garden, and how to obtain healthier food options if they are not readily available at their local store.

In addition to nutrition lessons, the garden will give students a  practical learning experience that will teach them how to raise food for the school and the surrounding community.

Though all of the students will have the opportunity to be in the garden, Jim Fitzsimmons’ fifth grade science class will maintain the garden as part of the curriculum.

Erying learned that Jenks’ vegetable garden received the grant in late December and was “extremely excited” for the opportunity, especially as the district’s budgetary woes continue.

“The Philly public schools have been hit hard in various ways and we are happy to have a funded program to add to the experience at Jenks,” said Erying.

He said the grant funds will be utilized to purchase gardening tools, compost to supplement the soil, good quality seeds and seedlings, materials to make raised beds, and a rain barrel.

In addition to the grant, Recyclebank will give J.S Jenks $1 for every 250 Recyclebank points donated to the school.

To donate points, go to recyclebank.com/green-schools.

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