Arkansas School Farm Month was marked this week with a ceremony at Pinnacle View Middle School in Little Rock. It was part of national efforts to connect schools, early childhood education sites and other organizations to farms to bring local, healthy food to children.
In celebration of Arkansas School Farm Month, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Arkansas Farm Credit Associations presented prizes to the winners of the Arkansas School Garden Contest. the year 2022 of Arkansas. The winners are:
Best Startup School Garden Proposal
Lee Senior High School, Marianna (Lee County), $500 prize
Wonderview Elementary School, Hattieville (Conway County), $500 prize
Best Education-Based School Garden: Nettleton STEAM, Jonesboro (Craighead County), $500 prize
Conway High School, Conway (Faulkner County), $500 prize
Best Harvest Partnership School Garden
Crestwood Elementary, North Little Rock (Pulaski County), prize $500
Chicot Elementary & Early Childhood Center, Mabelvale (Pulaski County), price $500
Best Community Collaboration School Garden
Arch Ford/Synergy ALE, Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline counties), prize $500
Ward Central Elementary, Ward (Lonoke County), price $500
Best Overall School Garden
Pinnacle View Middle School, Little Rock (Pulaski County), prize $1,000
School Garden Sustainability Champion
Sheridan Elementary School, Sheridan (Grant County), $1,000 prize
The Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year competition was launched by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Arkansas Farm Credit Associations in 2014. The program provides an opportunity to promote the importance of involving young people in the process of producing and growing fresh food. Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas generously provides funding for the program.
“As a farmer-owned co-op, we believe in supporting local food system initiatives such as the Arkansas Grown School Garden Program,” said Brandon Haberer, CEO of Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, on behalf of the Arkansas Farm Credit Associations. “Local food projects like this are a great way to educate the next generation and the public about food production and agriculture.”
The competition was open to public and private K-12 schools, early childhood education settings, and alternative learning environments. The winners were schools that either had a school garden open in the 2021-2022 school year or planned to open a garden in the 2022-2023 school year.
“School gardens provide a hands-on opportunity for children to learn about Arkansas agriculture and where their food comes from. The lessons learned through school gardens have a lasting impact on children, their families and entire communities,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward.