For the kids at Cleveland Elementary School in Oklahoma City, life is a garden… and they dig it. A few years ago, with help from a grant through the Whole Kids Foundation and several generous volunteers, Cleveland Elementary built their very own school garden.

The purpose of a school or community garden project? To help grow healthy kids. Not only do students get to plant, hoe, pick, rake and tend the garden — they get to learn all about healthy food and where it comes from. Plus the outdoor garden provides a stimulating, invigorating break from the classroom.

Teachers and parents have also grown fond of the elementary school garden. For teachers, students get hands-on learning opportunities about the importance of fruits, vegetables and nutrition. For parents and community members, the garden encourages involvement to help keep the garden in good shape!

School and community gardens are growing movements with countless benefits. Here’s the scoop:

  • They strengthen connections and encourage the entire community to work together.
  • They can provide access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.
  • They help schools and cities grow.
  • They’re for people of all ages!

Cleveland Elementary School is already raking in the benefits of their school garden project. If you want to join the gardening movement, grant opportunities may be available through TSET Healthy Schools Incentive Grants, as well as the Whole Kids Foundation.

Also, consider these steps when getting your garden growing:

  1. Organize a meeting — invite teachers, parents, kids and community members.
  2. Identify resources — reach out for potential partnerships.
  3. Pick a location.
  4. Design your garden and decide what types of plants or produce you’d like to grow.
  5. Consult with other successful gardens, nurseries or online resources for tips on gardening in Oklahoma.

For more information on these steps and to learn all about healthy communities, visit ShapeYourFutureOK.com.

Oh, and don’t forget to follow the Cleveland Elementary School Garden on Twitter — @bulldoggarden!