Lyon County Schools receive grants to teach students how to garden

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SILVER SPRINGS, Nev. (KOLO)- The Silver Stage Middle School and Elementary School in Lyon County have been granted funds from the Nevada Department of Agriculture to go toward gardening education.

“Our particular area is a food desert, meaning they do not have local access or easy access to fresh foods.” said Rachel Leach, 6th grade teacher from Silver Stage Middle School. "It is shocking to see how many children do not know where their food comes from."

For the students at Silver Stage Middle and Elementary Schools, part of learning goes beyond the classroom. Leach created the G.R.E.E.N team Project in 2011; students learn how to garden, compost and recycle.

"Having them learn to grow their own food, especially in a water-wise way meant for the Nevada desert, is really good, so they can go home and literally feed their own families." said Leach.

The G.R.E.E.N team project has students do different assignments in the garden every day, composting, recycling or watering. The 6th graders also mentor younger students at the elementary school. They teach them the basics of gardening.

"We teach them how to be good role models and we teach them how to do gardening." said 6th grader Rachel Gladwill.

This year, 48 schools in Nevada were granted funds from the Nevada Department of Agriculture to go toward garden education. Silver Stage Middle School and Silver Stage Elementary School made that list. They will be receiving nearly $10,000 in June 2018. They will be using it to expand their garden and purchase Microgreens.

"We can harvest within a week pretty much and bring it right back into the cafeteria where the kids can be eating it every day." said Leach, "They would be getting far more nutrition than they would otherwise."

The G.R.E.E.N team project has taught students lessons that go beyond taking tests, like the importance of taking care of oneself by eating healthy, and taking care of one another by being good role models to young children.

"I feel like I am growing better people, not just better test takers." said Leach.

The G.R.E.E.N team project is encouraging other schools to visit their garden in case they would like to create their own.