By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“The kids love to be outside,” said Cheryl Garrett, who teaches students in second and third grades at the school at 1637 Grant St., “and they realize where food comes from and how they can grow it.”
Instructor Candice Cosler, program and school garden director with the Jefferson County Farm to Schools Coalition, offers kids both practical instruction about planting vegetables and the scientific background about how the process works.
Cosler asked second- and third-graders Thursday what “dormant” meant, and a boy immediately responded, “It's like they are asleep.”
Principal Mary Sepler said the program is designed to help the school comply with new standards for science instruction that go into effect next year.
“A lot of what the kids learn outdoors incorporates into their work in the classroom,” Sepler said.
“They learn the science, and then they have to write about what they've learned so it helps them learn both science and writing.”
Nutrition is an important component, Sepler said.
“The kids learn about what they gain from good nutrition, and they find out that they like eating things like kale,” she said.
“It builds their awareness of health.”
Sepler said the program is a partnership between the school and the farm-to-school coalition.
It costs about $8,000 a year and is subsidized by the Port Townsend School District, the Parent-Teacher Association and other sources, including grant funding.
Custom-made “I Dig It” buttons, which are on sale at the school and in locations around town for $5 each, also subsidize the program.
“The most important thing is that the kids learn how to eat correctly,” Sepler said.
The farm-to-schools coalition is a community-based group working to improve the nutritional value of food served in schools. It also has a partnership with the Quilcene School Garden.
For more information about the Jefferson County Farm-to-School Coalition, visit www.jcfarm2school.org.
For more about Grant Street Elementary, visit www.ptschools.org/domain/19.
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.