Wraparound and Nutrition Services join students, parents to revitalize Golfcrest Elementary garden

A cool morning breeze pushed humid air over the dewy grass at Golfcrest Elementary, as parents and community volunteers raked and reclaimed the campus garden beds.

Nearly 20 excited students joined in to help prepare the soil and build additional vegetable and flower beds for the fall growing season.

“I love nature and gardening-I want to make my school more beautiful,” third-grader Nikole Rivera said, adding she is also a member of the school’s campus gardening club.

Receiving additional community support, Golfcrest is one of 10 All-In wraparound schools partnering with Nutrition Services.

Wraparound Resource Specialist Jalil Cantarero coordinated the endeavor. He explained that he supports the Good Food initiative that emphasizes locally-grown produce and healthy lifestyles.

“Our goal is to connect students to the life cycle of fruits and vegetables, so they are not just consumers of food,” Cantarero said. “These all-In events help us cultivate ties with residents in the area.”

The curriculum used is the Junior Master Gardener international youth program that also reinforces STEAAM subjects – science, technology, engineering, arts, agriculture, and math.

“I’m excited to get the chance to plant flowers and vegetables,” 10-year-old Jorge Escobar said.

Using hand and power tools, the adult volunteers also constructed four new garden bed frames that each measured 9 feet by 3 feet.

“Today, we emphasized teamwork and math,” Nutrition Services Area Manager Marcus Glenn said. “The students filled the beds with soil and then calculated the total square footage.”

As Nutrition Services is on track to revitalize all 84 campus gardens in the district, the agriculture team underscores the connection between people and food to build strong community ties.

“We are thankful that local businesses have been donating to our campus gardens,” Glenn said. “This kind of community interest engages students and adults to support indoor and outdoor classroom achievement.”