GroMoreGood Grant to Cultivate Sharon School Garden

Recently, the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network received a $500 Gro More Good Grassroots grant to support the renovation and rejuvenation of the Sharon School Grant. This was a competitive national grant from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening.

In 2023, 160 programs received funding to start or expand their youth garden or greenspace. A total of $95,000 was awarded.

“Congratulations to the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network for receiving a 2023 GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant,” said KidsGardening’s Program Director, Sarah Lane. “We love when kids can play, learn, and grow in the garden, and the new student-designed garden at Sharon School will be the perfect place for that.”

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network facilitated the Weakley County Farm to School Action Planning process which produced a Farm to School Action Plan in 2021. “The organization’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to ALL,” stated Samantha Goyret, Executive Director, NWTNLFN, “which is exactly how we plan to utilize the Sharon School Garden as a way to empower both teachers, students, and the community.”

The Weakley County Farm to School vision statement, “Plants the seeds for students to learn where their food comes from by growing, observing, and experiencing hands-on opportunities. The growth of the initiative occurs as educators, farmers, and local ag-based entities work together to create a nationally recognized sustainable model.

The #GrowSharon School Garden Committee will coordinate the maintenance of the garden through a strategic plan that is being worked on with the STEM Garden design project to involve ALL grade levels at Sharon School in order to take part in maintaining, engaging and enjoying the garden space. 

Part of the plan is to add playground borders around the garden, lay down a thick layer of mulch and create new raised beds for kids 3 years old to 14, Pre-K – 8th grade to utilize throughout the school year.

#GrowSharon Committee members include Linda Biggers, Interventionist Specialist at Sharon School who is working with students to design the school garden using STEM concepts; McKenna Cady, Middle School teacher who incorporates STEM concepts into daily student activities and has a passion to work with children with disabilities; Michelle Clements, Principal, Sharon School who has been serving Weakley County Schools for over 15 years; Beth Davidson, Assistant Principal who wears many hats, Ms. Beth is a Literacy Leader, RTBR Coach, and co-leader of the Sharon School; Samantha Goyret, Parent/LFN Staff, who has been volunteering at Sharon School for 5 years and loves to teach children about gardening, eating well and having fun in the soil; and Danielle Scott Johnson, 2nd grade Teacher who in 2020, was a Teacher of the Year State Finalist, and the lead teacher who implemented the Sharon School garden in 2014. Ms. Danielle’s passion and dedication to keep growing has inspired the rest of the school to take action to expand the garden location.

The GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant, brought to you by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening, is designed to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to communities across the United States. The Grassroots Grants are part of Scotts Miracle-Gro’s larger GroMoreGood initiative, which aims to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens and greenspaces to 10 million children by 2023.

There are several volunteer opportunities through the NWTN Local Food Network visit: nwtnlfn.org/volunteer.

More about grantees: https://kidsgardening.org/grant_winners/2023-gromoregood-grassroots-grant-winners/

~ Written by Samantha Goyret
Local Food Network Team Member