Sheridan Elementary School has been selected as the winner of the $1,000 “Champion of School Garden Sustainability” award from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas. SES is one of 10 schools statewide to win an award at the 2022 Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest. October is Arkansas Farm to School month, and contest winners were selected as part of the celebration. The event was held Wednesday, Oct. 12 at Pinnacle View Middle School in Little Rock.
The “Champion of School Garden Sustainability” category recognizes one school that had previously won a contest category and has woven the school garden program into the foundation of the school culture. The $1,000 award will go to support the school garden.
Either Sheridan Elementary or Sheridan Intermediate has been an award winner in the contest five of the past six years, according to County Extension Agent Brad McGinley.
“Our school garden wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of Brad McGinley with SES teachers, Cindy Whitaker and Carla Marsh,” said SES Principal Lindsey Bohler. “Their dedication and love for gardening with our students shines bright every year. We are thankful for these opportunities for our kids.”
The Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest provides the opportunity to promote the importance of involving young people in the process of fresh food production and cultivation. Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas provides the funding for the program.
“As a farmer-owned cooperative, we believe it’s important to support local food system initiatives such as the Arkansas Grown School Garden Program,” said Farm Credit of Western Arkansas CEO Brandon Haberer on behalf of the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas. “Local food projects like this are a great way to educate the next generation and the public about food production and agriculture.”
The contest was available to public and private K-12 schools, early childhood education facilities, and alternative learning environments.
“School gardens provide a hands-on opportunity for children to learn about Arkansas agriculture and where their food comes from. The lessons learned through school gardens have a lasting impact on children, their families, and entire communities,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward.