For an associate professor at the University of Washington, school gardens are a center of learning. In fact, the National Science Foundation has awarded the Seattle Public Schools a $2.9 million grant to get students to use school gardens to solve issues like food security, and professor Megan Bang is working to make those gardens a center of learning.
Bang is working with the schools and with the nonprofit Tilth Alliance to build learning gardens at three schools. She is also creating a new curriculum model for ecosystems and offering training for teachers.
“We teach kids to understand plant cells and the plant life cycles,” said Bang. “But do we teach them in a way that shows that plant’s relationship to the soil, or to the bugs?”
Many public schools in Seattle have gardens, but most are funded locally by PTAs and not used for classroom lessons.