Assignment: Education - State Road Garden

Growing a New Generation of Gardeners

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Boxes and Boxes of supplies have arrived at State Road Elementary School in La Crosse.

"This is all donated from Fiscars," said Jamie O'Neill, Grow Your Brain garden coordinator.

The $1,500 donation from Fiscars is just one of four grants the elementary school received to start a new school garden project.

"We want to give the children experience here at school," said Dave Gluch, State Road Elementary School principal. "We want them to go through the process of helping prepare the soil, planting the seeds, nurturing the plants along, and eventually harvesting them and getting them on the trays as they eat their lunch."

This is also the goal of a new local organization called Grow Your Brain which has partnered with the elementary school.

"We really feel that focusing on schools is really, really important because that is the way to get in the hands of all children," said O'Neill.

And children are the focus of this organization as research shows eating healthy affects behavior, eating habits and a child's overall well being.


"In fact, in a lot of classrooms that they've had  kids come out to a garden at least once a week, they've actually doubled their fruit and vegetable intake," said O'Neill. "Which may sound like a lot but a lot of children are not eating anywhere near what's recommend. So, it could have very, very good effects."

The principal at State Road would like to see the habits learned at school also be used at home.

"We want to be able to provide, not just our students, but our families who can come and take a look and say you know what we can build this type of garden in our own backyard, too," said Gluch.

And the garden will provide a new resource for classroom teachers, as well.

"I see us being able to kind of incorporate math skills. Just creating graphs of watching our plants grow.," said Stephanie Callen, State Road Elementary School teacher. "Or science. We have a soils curriculum we do. Just getting the kids hands on, in the dirt, feeling it. And then I think lastly, just having the ownership of watching something grow."

Which the principal hopes will encourage students to be sustainable while using and enjoying the environment around them.

"I think sometimes we're so busy in our lives, and especially as parents, we're getting our kids all over the place," said Gluch. "And sometimes we don't take the time to enjoy our environment and the nature around us. And gardening is one excellent way to do that."

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