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Register Now! The New UCity Food Garden Network Offers Free Seedlings and Gardening Materials For District Families

growing together

Deadline to register to join the Food Garden Network and order free supplies is Sunday, April 18. Pickup is May 1, 2021, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Brittany Woods Middle School.

University City High School students interested in sustainability are recruiting families now to join them in Growing Together: The UCity Schools Food Garden Network, a new initiative to help district families grow their own food this spring, summer and fall.

The student-driven community project hopes to bring the joy of gardening and food sustainability to the greater University City Schools community. It also provides Food Garden Network members with free seeds, seedlings and other gardening materials to grow vegetables at their homes or in their local school gardens.

Participants can choose to grow herbs, cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, okra, sweet potatoes, kale and mustard greens. For those who don’t have a sunny place to plant a garden in their backyard, the Food Garden Network will be providing free wood garden planters constructed by high school industrial arts students to be placed on balconies, patios or window sills. There is also the option to garden food in existing gardens at district schools.

The Food Garden Network welcomes seasoned green thumbs, beginners and anyone in between to grow food through the program. 

Register Now to Select Your Veggies or Volunteer!

Those interested in growing food are asked to join the network by registering here by Sunday, April 18. The registration form enables participants to select the free food they want to grow and indicate if they need additional gardening supplies or materials. It also provides options for volunteering. All participants will be given gardening coaching and advice when needed. Additionally, every member of the Food Garden Network will receive signage to let the community know that they are part of this new sustainability community.

Once registered, seeds, seedlings and other materials will be available for pick up at Brittany Woods Middle School from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, 2021 as part of a districtwide “Growing Together” celebration held outside the school. The safe, outdoor event will feature a place to make your own food planters, an interactive public art project, kickball and other games, a DJ, dunk tank and other fun activities to celebrate the U. City Schools community’s resilience, courage and personal growth amid a global pandemic.

The students in charge of the Food Garden Network have also developed their own website at www.ucityschools.org/GrowingTogether2021. Click on the link to learn more about the program, joining the network, volunteering and upcoming events. Additionally you can follow Growing Together: The UCity Schools Food Garden Network on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Growing Together Amid a Global Pandemic

The initiative is possible, in part, thanks to a generous donation from University City resident Ilene Murray and her husband, the late C. Edwin Murray, who met and fell in love when they were both teachers at Brittany Woods in the 1970s.

The initiative came to fruition in response to the stressful impact of COVID-19 on many students and families. Early in the pandemic students could not participate in school gardens currently located at Brittany Woods Middle School and Barbara C. Jordan, Flynn Park, Jackson Park and Pershing Elementary Schools. The high schoolers wanted to rethink the concept of a “school” garden and increase food security at the same time.

“We connect with one another through a love of gardening. We want people to see that this can happen at their homes and in our schools and if people are nervous about getting started, we are here to help,” said sophomore Bella Wright.

The high schoolers want to make sure that everyone interested in gardening will gain the  experience and know-how needed to grow their own affordable, healthy food. For this reason, they are working hard to reach as many District families as possible.

“We just are making sure that everyone hears about the program and has access to gardening,” said sophomore Gayle Stevenson. “Growing your own food will give you a sense of self accomplishment. This can be a ‘real proud of me moment’ where people can say, ‘I can give this to myself, my family or my friends to eat.’”

The students undertaking the initiative are being mentored by Brittany Woods Middle School Teacher Anne Cummings.