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Hillsborough Has First School of its Kind in State

"Nature is our best teacher" is the motto of Learning Gate Charter School in Lutz.

The school has an organic garden and a salad bar where each student is encouraged to make a rainbow of color on his plate. They have buckets in the lunch room to collect apple cores and banana peels and such. These are wheelbarrowed to the compost piles by the garden.

They raised rabbits until dogs became a problem. Now they have chickens, some that lay eggs with colored shells.

At a table in the garden kids gather to sort seeds and work out math problems like: one seed will feed only a bird and leave him hungry. But planted it makes a lettuce that can feed a family. And when it is allowed to bolt how many seeds might it have? Enough to feed a village? Because they save their own seeds, they let the lettuce and other plants bolt when the time comes. The best gardens are not manicured. That alone is a good lesson for life.

Since not every child can not go there, it is important for all of us to teach them how to protect and conserve our Florida ecosystem.

To learn much more about this school program and how you can adapt the teachings at home, see the newest issue of Florida Gardening Magazine.

-The littlest students at Learning Gate School water their beans...
-wash their beans in the sink by the garden, and...
-eat their beans with a sense of accomplishment.