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About the Green Education Foundation

Creating tomorrow's environmental leaders

Agrarian Adventure

The Agrarian Adventure greenhouse at Tappan Middle School in Ann Arbor, MI, provides experiential education in sustainable food, agriculture and health.

About the 2013 Winner of the Green Thumb Challenge

Congratulations to the students at Tappan Middle School in Ann Arbor, MI, for winning the 2013 Green Thumb Challenge grant.

Since 2004 the Agrarian Adventure has brought together teachers, community members and parents to serve the students at Tappan Middle School. The greenhouse at the school is a foundational resource for district-wide education programming and a unique resource in all of Washtenaw County. The main activity at Tappan is afterschool cooking and gardening by the Food and Garden Club. Over the years the club has nurtured awareness of food culture and connected hundreds of students to the sources of their food. The season begins in January, when the club meets to develop a crop plan — and enjoy last season's kale, cooked with garden-grown garlic.

The club impacts the community in many ways, including growing and distributing seedlings for school gardens in the district, in addition to a student-run seedling sale. As part of a plant biology unit, seventh-grade students come to the greenhouse in early spring to start seeds, including varieties requested by participating school gardens. After the seedlings sprout in classroom windows, students return the seedlings to the greenhouse, where the Food and Garden Club nurtures them. In May, the students sell some of the seedlings and also help coordinate distribution to Ann Arbor Public School gardens. In 2013, the group distributed 375 seedlings to six schools.

In the last two years the number of school gardens in the area has almost doubled. With that comes increased demand for seedlings. To meet the need, a vibrant Food and Garden Club is more important than ever. With the Green Thumb Challenge grant, Agrarian Adventure can reach to more students, grow more seedlings and teach more people how to grow and distribute them.

IT'S no secret that the future will hold many environmental challenges, from pollution and climate change to invasive plant and animal species. How can we prepare ourselves and our children to overcome these challenges?

One organization, the Green Education Foundation, is doing just that. The GEF develops and distributes classroom curriculum that teaches sustainability and environmental science to children K-12. Formed in 2008, this effective nonprofit organization has quickly become a leader in environmental education.

The GEF not only has dozens of classroom curriculums, but they also have courses to train teachers in the new science of sustainability. They also create fun events, such as Green Thumb Week, which got 770,000 kids gardening, and the Waste-Free Snack Challenge for Earth Day. They even have a new course in green building. During National Green Week 2011, the foundation mobilized more than five million children to participate in school-based sustainability programs that cut energy usage and promote recycling.

GEF isn't about politics; it's about teaching kids the skills they'll need to address the environmental conditions they'll face as adults. And it's about success in life: Just as free enterprise thrived during the Industrial Revolution and the Computer Revolution, a new generation of entrepreneurs will make their living in the Green Revolution. The GEF is giving them a great start.

There's no single answer to the challenge of building an environmentally sustainable future, but the work of the GEF is a good beginning. Gardener's Supply is proud to support the GEF and we hope you will too. You can learn more at greeneducationfoundation.org

Students at Agrarian Adventure

Agrarian Adventure students grow salad greens for middle school cafeterias across the district.

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