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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Grow Academy helping students stay healthy


Last updated 9/8/2021 at 8:02am | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

The Edible Garden is a learning tool, as well as a source of healthy meals.

The Grow Academy, formerly known as Grimmway Academy, in Shafter, is working to keep children healthy as they learn.

With a mission that includes a commitment to improving the health and wellness of the entire community, Grow Academy is a shining example of an institution that cares about its students.

The educational mission at Grow Public Schools includes a commitment to improve the health and wellness of the entire community by teaching students and their families' ways to establish and maintain life-long healthy eating habits. This mission is accomplished through nutrition education, garden experiences, the selection and preparation of food served at Grow Public Schools and academic content in both the classroom and Edible Schoolyard garden and kitchen programs.

With their Edible School Yard, the students at the Grow Academy can assist in the growing of food they enjoy at lunchtime. With the return of students to the classroom after a year of distance learning, children are excited to be back in touch with their fellow students, getting to participate in classes, as well as the process of providing food for their meals.

The menu at the Grow Café, which provides the breakfast, lunch and supper for the students, is filled with healthy meals that contain a good amount of produce that is grown on site at their Edible Garden, which is maintained by staff and the students, who work together to care for the plants and harvest them.

They also have Meatless Mondays, where the meals are vegetarian, and the menu also contains a special day each week that highlights a teacher. The teacher gives the staff a family recipe that his or her family enjoys, and the meal is replicated for the school menu for that day.

An Edible Schoolyard (ESY) is a garden classroom and kitchen classroom that provides a hands-on learning experience for students. Students are able to get their hands in the soil, cultivate, plant, water and harvest their own produce. The produce is taken to the kitchen classroom, where students use real tools to create a delicious meal. Students then set a beautiful table, share conversation and eat together. They encourage students to explore and awaken their senses to the world around them, and to appreciate food through seed to table education.

The ESY is a space that brings the academic classroom to life. Students are not only able to connect their experiences in the garden and kitchen to content they are learning in the classroom, but are also developing and practicing vital life skills, teamwork and learning how to nourish themselves in all areas of life.

As the Grow Academy of Shafter begins its first year taking eighth graders, the school is growing just as the edible garden is, thriving and giving the community of Shafter and its youth a healthy and positive place to grow.


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