By Cara Plott for Bronx Health REACH
I began my year of service as a FoodCorps service member at the Family School not really knowing what to expect. Would I be able to find mentors to help me figure out the needs of the school? Would the school administrators be supportive and excited about expanding the number of classes learning in the garden? Would teachers feel comfortable using the garden space? Would my students be patient with me as I developed my teaching skills? And perhaps the most perplexing issue – how on earth could we engage a school of over 520 students in our garden which had only four small rectangular garden beds and a circle of eight stumps to sit on? However, I soon found myself welcomed into a community of teachers, administrators, students, families, and staff who were excited to collaborate with me to improve the culture of wellness at their school. Through these partnerships, we have made great strides in getting more classes growing in the garden, promoting vegetables and fruits in the cafeteria, and developing our school’s culture of wellness.