Education Matters: Students Grow Garden to Learn about Nutrition

CONWAY, Ark. - An unusual approach is teaching some local students about health and nutrition.

At Bob Courtway Middle School in Conway, garden beds have become the classroom. 

As part of their lessons, the eager workers take bags of soil then lay down wood and connect the pieces. Everyone lends a helping hand. When it's all put together, you get a garden bed full of plants.

"I've learned that there's many different plants that can survive through the winter," says Madison, 6th grader. "We've planted different lettuces. We've planted basil, swiss chard."

There's also tomatoes, cilantro and other fresh produce in the garden beds that have flourished into a learning tool.

"I've gotten to learn about vegetables and how to grow them," says Richard, another 6th grader.

They're behind the whole process that encourages healthy eating.

"We harvest them. For example, the lettuce, we make salads out of lettuce, tomatoes and carrots," Richard adds.

They get to eat it too. But all this wouldn't have been possible without the help of the Conway Regional Women's Council, which saw the need to educate people about childhood obesity.

"Often, teachers spend money out of their own pocket to support and provide innovative programs. We thought we'd get involved this way," says Dot Welch, Conway Regional Women's Council.

This project is one of 11 the Women's Council has funded this year through child wellness grants.

"I'm looking forward to adding more plants and maybe more plants that will attract more butterflies," Madison says.

And attract more kids to add a healthier side on their plate.

The Conway Regional Women's Council funds grants to schools in Faulkner County and surrounding areas the hospital serves each year.

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