Bill would promote school vegetable gardens in Maryland
Today, the Maryland Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee will hear testimony on legislation that would allow public schools to plant and maintain vegetable gardens on school grounds.
According to Democratic Jamie Raskin, who introduced the bill in the Senate, it would require county boards of education to encourage the use of open space on school property for gardens. Groups interested in planting or maintaining a garden would have to submit a plan to the superintendent.
School gardens are not without controversy.
School district officials in some states have expressed concern about rodents and insects or about time spent in the gardens that might be better spent in the classroom.
Supporters of school gardens have argued that planting gardens requires tools from a variety of subject areas. In addition, they have been useful in promoting healthy eating habits and in bringing communities together.
In addition, first lady Michelle Obama has been a strong supporter of school gardens as a way to combat childhood obesity.
“While we're growing healthy and smart kids in Maryland, we can teach them to grow healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Raskin. “It's an essential part of a balanced curriculum.”