Thursday, June 3, 2010

Press Release: Community Groups Seek to End Ban on Vegetable Gardens in MCPS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 
June 3, 2010                                                                                                   
Contact Gordon Clark                                                                                gordon@montgomeryvictorygardens.org

COMMUNITY GROUPS SEEK TO END BAN ON VEGETABLE GARDENS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY SCHOOLS
POLICY CONTRADICTIONS NOTED IN WAKE OF FIRST LADY'S VISIT

Silver Spring, MD - A growing collection of civic and community groups in Montgomery County are joining together to request that the Montgomery County Public Schools ban on vegetable gardens be revoked.

An open letter requesting the change, written by Montgomery Victory Gardens and the Montgomery County Master Gardener Association, was delivered today to MCPS Superintendent Jerry D. Weast.  While the letter will remain open for additional group signatures, initial co-signers include groups such as the West Montgomery County Citizens Association, the Audubon Naturalist Society,  the Takoma  Park Silver Spring Co-Op, the Montgomery Countryside Alliance, and the National Capital Area Garden Clubs.

"Vegetable gardens bring a multitude of benefits to school students," noted Jon Traunfeld of the University of Maryland Extension’s “Grow It Eat It” campaign, "from increased academic achievement and physical activity to greater environmental understanding and stewardship.  

Vegetable gardens also teach children healthier eating habits, and what could be more important in the battle against childhood obesity than teaching kids how to grow and eat fresh vegetables?"
The irony of the vegetable garden ban is noteworthy in the wake of First Lady Michelle Obama's recent visit to New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring.  "Superintendent Weast was deservedly proud to highlight the school's achievement in the Healthier U.S. Schools Challenge," observed Gordon Clark, Project Director of Montgomery Victory Gardens, "but was Michelle Obama aware that the Superintendent has banned school vegetable gardens, another one of her signature priorities?"

The ban on vegetable gardens is not part of written school policy, but was announced by Dr. Weast in a February 26 memo to the Board of Education. Other types of gardens, such as butterfly gardens or "sensory" gardens, are allowed.  Some Montgomery County schools have submitted applications to build vegetable gardens, only to be refused by the MCPS Department of Facilities Management.  The open letter responds to concerns raised in Dr. Weast's memo, while also outlining the many benefits vegetable gardens would bring to our county's school children.

3 comments:

  1. This is just more of the nonsense from MCPS. You are not allowed to bring in any homemade foods for a class. The schools send home memo after memo with misspellings and inaccurate information.

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  2. That is news to me. Before Christmas and on certain other special occasions classes always have parties and bring in homemade food.

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  3. i feel so sorry for people who still think they are free and in good hands.the time for less government by fascist corporations is now.They are killing us by forcing us to use their products and not our own. Freedom means freedom.

    ReplyDelete

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