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food â thought

Growing Healthy Waves continues to thrive by implementing learning opportunities, from interactive school greenhouses to parent sessions on food choice. written by Melanie Crownover photographed by Joe Worthem

The Sprout House, a working greenhouse that will function as an interactive-learning classroom, opened at Lawndale Elementary in September. The greenhouse is a product of Tupelo Public School District’s Growing Healthy Waves program, which has also facilitated student taste tests, educational sessions for parents, cafeteria salad bars and learn-and-grow school gardens.

In late September

students sat at the ready, awaiting their introduction to a learning space they’ve been imagining for months: Lawndale Elementary School’s new greenhouse. The third- through fifth-graders had been watching patiently from the time a crew broke ground near the campus playground in the spring of 2017 until the last plants were situated in the fall. Tours of the green space couldn’t come quickly enough after officials cut the ribbon on opening day. “Having a controlled environment like

16 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

that to study is an exciting thing because they get to see the processes up close over time and really get into it,” fifth-grade science teacher Rachel Beasley said. “There’s a much deeper understanding and better retention from handson learning like this. The great thing is, they’ve been constantly asking when they would get to go inside it since construction started.” This interactive-learning classroom, which students named The Sprout House, came courtesy of grant money from Toyota and the Boerner Be Wild Foundation; however, Tupelo Public School District’s Growing Healthy

Waves (GHW) program headed the project from start to finish. The 36-by-48-foot sanctuary for STEMbased activities is a milestone for the Tupelo Public School District (TPSD) program, which focuses on bringing better nutrition and healthy-food education to the area, but it’s only one of many victories for the district. The first win was getting a Food Corps Mississippi service member in 2013 after a year of lobbying. The contract pairs a worker with a district to help up to three schools implement healthier nutrition programs, and TPSD must

Invitation Tupelo - November 2017