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WI Cultivates “Little Green Thumbs”

August 1, 2011

EAST TROY, Wis. - Some children grow up with the notion that food comes from the supermarket, but a new program in Wisconsin is teaching kids otherwise. The Little Green Thumbs program developed by the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, East Troy, gives high school students the chance to manage a garden, and then use that garden as an outdoor classroom to teach first- and second-graders how to grow plants.

Deb Helsper is the parent of one of the first-graders who participated in Little Green Thumbs this year.

"Kids are learning where food actually comes from, and they're growing their own vegetables to use in their lunch program."

Helsper says the kids are not only learning about agriculture, but also about the benefits of eating fresh and nutritious local food. Currently, East Troy High School and Leona Doubek Elementary School are participating in the program, with plans to expand it next year.

Helsper is excited that her daughter gets to see how food gets from the field to the plate.

"They get into the garden plots and they weed, and they water, and some of the kids helped us plant all the vegetables in the plots."

The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute touts the program as great for teaching grade-schoolers about plants and giving high school students the chance to teach younger students.

More information about the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is available at www.michaelfields.org/.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI