USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon Tours School Garden Project At The Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) Elementary School in Chicago
Kicking off the USDA’s summer meals program, the USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon visited the Academy of Global Citizenship (AGC) in Chicago to talk about the importance of farm-to-school and school gardens programs.
Undersecretary Concannon’s tour coincides with the USDA recent announcement that it is implementing new rules designed to encourage use of local farm products in school meals. The rule is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 signed into law by President Obama and one of the key provisions to bolster farm to school programs across the country. His visit also highlights the USDA’s expansion of the free summer youth food program in Chicago neighborhoods with a high percentage of low-income youth. More than one thousand Chicago sites for youth will be eligible to get free meals.
At the Academy for Global Citizenship, students learn to develop healthy and sustainable lifestyles for themselves with organic and nutritionally balanced meals, daily yoga, wellness instruction and gardening. Elementary school aged students play an active role in tending the school gardens.
According to Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, founder and executive director of the Academy for Global Citizenship, “our schoolyard garden is a powerful vehicle for teaching students about the connection between their everyday food choices and the health of the community, the environment, and themselves. The garden has created opportunities for children to discover fresh organic food and become better stewards of the earth.”
Following the school gardens tour, Undersecretary Concannon commented how impressed he was with what he experienced at the school and complimented the meal that was prepared at AGC. Chartwells-Thompson supports school gardens and locally grown produce initiatives in Chicago Public schools. School gardens provide educational experiences for students through school gardens as a means to learn about where and how food is grown. Growing tasty and nutritious fruits, vegetables and herbs provides an interactive way that incorporates math, science, health, and sustainability lessons. The integrated school garden program at the Academy for Global Citizenship allows students learn these lessons every day.