School planting early seeds in central Ohio students about sustainability

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Franklin County and Columbus leaders have been working to encourage environmentally-friendly efforts since adopting the Local Food Action Plan in 2016. Currently, neighborhoods throughout Central Ohio are moving forward in their own efforts to teach sustainability early.

Kindergartners at Columbus School for Girls have been learning about the power of a seed and the important role gardens can play for the environment.

"All of those green leaves and flowers and plants and things are part of our garden," said 5-year-old Morgan Files in her CSG classroom. "And it came from seeds. It grows things that we didn't know would come up, like a flower. One even grew a small tomato."

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Teacher Kasey Near said the 5- and 6-year-old girls are absorbing the lessons on sustainability and enjoy gardening in the winter months with their hydroponic garden. He said they’re also getting a lesson on patience.

“The plants do not have to be outside to grow. We have been helping these grow for days inside our classroom,” said 6-year-old CSG student Katherine Maite. “But they don’t pop up when you want them to. It will grow when its ready to."

The indoor grow project is one example of early sustainability education and Near said he hopes some of the vegetables and herbs can find use through Local Matters, an organization working hard to encourage reusing, recycling, growing and green habits. Local Matters offers classes for adults and children alike to educate on the benefits of buying local products and growing your own foods, among other topics. Local Matters partners with schools across Central Ohio to help them meet their goals around healthy food and nutrition education.

Local Matters is expanding programming for people and organizations in Ohio through the construction of an onsite teaching space out of the Local Matters Education Center. The space will support engagement opportunities with schools by offering an engaging space for field trips and other similar types of programming.