Orlando elementary students receive science and nutrition lessons in the school garden

ORLANDO, Florida. – Students at Lake Silver Elementary School in the College Park neighborhood of Orlando are getting an important lesson not only about where food comes from, but also about how different nutrients help fuel their bodies.

Pat Bush, a paraprofessional in the physical education department, maintains the 2,000 square foot garden and teaches students gardening.

“If these children come out here, they know there is nothing that can harm them chemically. We go through the whole body and show that what you eat determines how your body grows and how it reacts. Whether you are going to age or not. What size are you going to be. The darker the color, the better for you,” Bush said.

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Bush said everything in the garden is planted from seed and they focus on heirloom crops, which are varieties of fruits and vegetables that have been around for more than 50 years.

“We don’t reduce things. It is not a French garden. It looks more like a farm. If they harvest, they bring it home,” he said.

Bush said any surplus is sold to staff and families. On Valentine’s Day, the school sold flowers from the garden. Bush said the cool-weather growing season had just ended and the students were putting the garden to bed for the summer.

“It brings me joy, OK. To see that they love what they do. They learn. There are no manuals. It’s not dry. It’s alive. You don’t you’re not borrowing a book. You’re actually in a garden. Sunshine. Wonderful for them. Fresh air. They’re learning what’s going on around them,” Bush said. They’ll teach their children that, and when they get their own house, they’ll have some experience of what they’re doing.

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Bush said they put cardboard and leaves on the ground for the summer, which attracts earthworms and prepares the ground for planting in the fall.

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