I have been honored to be a part of the 'Farm To You' program coming in March of 2014. I just started teaching some of the lesson from the curriculum and the kids love it. Teachers are getting to see garden based lessons and learning how to be healthy. It is wonderful and the students love it. I'm getting more involved with the students and teachers and I'm excited about that!
Yellville-Summit School District
Yellville-Summit School is located in Marion County in the north central region of the state. Approximately 36% of children in Marion County are living in poverty and currently 77% of elementary students at Y-S are eligible for free/reduced lunch program. These numbers indicate that many of the families in our school district experience some level of food insecurity. According to Marion County Health rankings for 2011, 63.5% of our residents are overweight or obese and only 48.7% report meeting physical activity recommendations (2007). According to BRFSS data for the past decade, less than 30% of Arkansans meet the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
There is a need to increase awareness of health benefits involved in growing, processing and consuming fresh produce. In a policy statement issued by the AAP in 2006, "lifestyle-related physical activity, as opposed to aerobics or calisthenics, is critical for sustained weight loss in children". Gardening is definitely a lifestyle-related physical activity and if these studies translate to similar results in other age groups, which they likely do, additional time outdoors in the garden will benefit participants of all ages and not only for the time spent in gardening, but the encouragement to be active at other times.
Many beneficial partners have been involved in the current program and anticipate continued involvement into the future. Marion County Cooperative extension, Yellville Farmer's Market, Y-S Coordinated School health and many area businesses have partnered with the garden to provide resources, support and volunteer hours. The Yellville-Summit School garden is comprised of a demonstration garden with 26 beds, high tunnel with approximately 800 square foot of growing space, and a hillside area to expand the garden with terraced beds (one bed is in production at this time). The garden expansion into the terraced area will be underway this spring.
2013-2014 Service Member
My name is Trisha Ramsey and I was born in Harrison, Ar. I have lived in Yellville, Ar my entire life. I was a thirteen year senior at Yellville-Summit School, graduating in 2007. After high school I was unsure what I wanted to do as far as a career, but I knew I wanted to work with children. From 2007-2012 I worked at a few daycares. In the fall of 2012 I was offered a job at Yellville-Summit Elementary to become the AmeriCorps Tutor for the preschool. I truly enjoyed it so much. I enjoyed helping the preschoolers and doing community projects that helped people in my home town. However that program came to a close after the 2012-2013 school year. Although I was very sad about that. A very exciting event took place on December 31st, 2012 I married my wonderful husband Garrett. He teaches Elementary P.E. at Yellville-Summit. Also another chapter of my life began, when I heard about the new position that became available at Yellville-Summit this 2013-2014 school year. I am very proud to be the 2013-2014 GardenCorps Service Member at Yellville-Summit Schools. It feels good to be able to work at Yellville-Summit again this year. Although I have no experience working in a garden, I would say I am truly enjoying it, and I am excited to be a part of such an amazing program. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store. My future plans are to become a preschool teacher. This will be a great experience for me, and I am willing to take any training or experience to help me become a great future teacher.