Last month, Detroit Public Schools Office of School Nutrition hosted a gathering to commemorate the fifth year of the Detroit School Garden Collaborative. The collaborative was started in conjunction with Keep Growing Detroit to plant and nurture gardens on school grounds to serve two purposes: to provide fresh produce for school lunchrooms and to teach children and parents about healthy foods and gardening.
Today there are 78 school gardens, so there was much to celebrate at the September 17 event at Drew Farms, a four-acre school farm with six hoop houses located at the Drew Transition Center. DPS Executive Director Betti Wiggins collaborated with Dr. Glenda Price from Detroit Public Schools Foundation to organize the celebration and “friend raiser.”
The Office of School Nutrition is actively involved in the Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative Schools Work Group, which supports Detroit schools’ efforts to provide healthy, freshly prepared, and locally grown or produced foods in schools. Wiggins is co-chair of the Schools Work Group.
At the event, key players in the agriculture and schools communities were invited, and 35 attendees enjoyed a meal prepared by Kevin Frank, the school district chef, made from garden ingredients.
Guests sat outside on the shady side of the farm in a rustic yet sophisticated setting and ate from fine china. Butternut squash soup and a salad of kale, peppers and tomatoes were part of the menu. Short presentations from Wiggins and Zaundra Wimberley, farm and gardens director, were part of the evening that celebrated the Detroit School Garden Collaborative and other work being done by the Office of School Nutrition to put healthy, locally grown vegetables and fruits on the table for DPS students.
DPS has followed up with attendees to see how they may be able to assist the garden collaborative next spring through volunteering, donating materials and supplies, or contributing funding for the gardens.