New school gardens to be installed at four Fayette County elementary schools

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Four Fayette County Elementary Schools will be getting school gardens in the coming months, where students can learn to plant and grow food.

The idea came up when the school board wanted to increase access to healthy food for the students and provide information on healthy eating, nutrition and agriculture. 

The funding for the gardens came from a grant from the Office of Child Nutrition, which then partnered with the Farm to School program.

According to the Fayette County Farm to School Coordinator Kathryn Eckman, the program aims to see healthy and local food in schools.

“We’ve had issues with access to healthy food, nutrition education and things like that,’ Eckman said. “And so anything we can do to get the kids to have more food they can bring home that’s healthy, nutritious and fresh is the number one reason we want to do that.” 

Before they put the gardens in, they needed to figure out which schools were the most interested. To do that, they held a contest where classrooms could create a poster depicting a school garden.

The schools with the best posters were then picked for the new gardens.

The winners were Ansted Elementary, Valley PK-8, Divide Elementary and New River Primary, which had two winning classrooms.

Winning classrooms of the poster contest will also get the chance to take field trips this year to local farms.

Divide Elementary teacher Lisa Andrews says her class was ecstatic to learn about healthy eating and how it compares to other foods.

“They’re very excited about planting,” Andrews said. “They’re excited about learning about healthy choices, versus some of the things they like to eat like candy, chips and pop.” 

The schools are in the process of finding out where and how to install the gardens. It’s expected that students can start planting in the gardens this spring. 

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