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Shionka McGlory


Global Gardens adds new site, offering students ‘seed-to-plate’ experience. BY MADELINE EWING


lobal Gardens, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering Tulsa students, is joining forces with its fi fth school, Unity Learning Academy at 2137 N. Pittsburg Ave. Global Gardens’ other school sites are Eugene Field Elementary School, Rosa Parks Elementary School, McAuliffe Elementary School and the Union 6th/7th Grade Center. Three years ago, the owners of Darby Equipment Co. in north Tulsa planted the seed for an expansion to ULA and offered to match contributions made by other community members. “It was the incredible generosity of the Darby Family that really spearheaded the whole thing,” explains Maryann Donahue, executive director of Global Gardens. For every school site, Global Gardens works with students in pre-K through seventh grade during and after school with the goal of having every student receive a “seed-to-plate” experience. Students plant seeds in the ground and tend the plants until harvest, when they cook dishes incorporating their crops. Ultimately, every class


TulsaPeople FEBRUARY 2019

in the schools will have a class garden. Global Gardens’ after-school program offers more advanced and independent gardening experiences for third- through sixth-grade students. Here, the students have the opportunity to care for their own individual gardens. Global Gardens leaders say that offering these experiences stimulates students to learn more about health, science and the environment, and challenges them to become caring and forward-thinking. In the words of Audrey Hepburn, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” TP FEB. 8 GLOW 6:30 p.m. Spain Ranch, Jenks. A garden-to-table dining experience from award-winning chef Matthew McClure of the Hive Restaurant in the 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas. Cocktail attire. $500, tickets; sponsorships available. Benefits Global Gardens. Visit globalgardensglow.org


hionka McGlory’s love of books grew after watching her own children fall in love with reading. As their passion blossomed, the 31-yearold pre-K teacher’s assistant wanted to fan the fl ame by helping them fi nd books to which they could relate. But McGlory soon identified a lack of brown and black characters in children’s literature, particularly as heroes or characters of influence. “Most books where you can be a doctor or chef were not geared toward African Americans, or they were not the main character,” McGlory says. “You can’t see a different perspective of the world if you don’t see yourself in the world.” In 2017, she founded Mocha Books from her Tulsa home. “You have to start where you are,” she says. The business is now an online platform with the mission to promote literacy through new and used, culturally represented and diverse books for children and adults. The site has grown to provide book reviews and literary resources and spotlight authors who write about diverse characters. McGlory introduces readers to her finds daily from her Instagram page, @readwithmochabooks. “I get to combine my passion for working with youth and families with my passion for books,” she says. — JORDAN COX


Members of Global Gardens’ after-school program at Unity Learning Academy presented plans for the school’s new gardens to teachers, students and parents at a “family dinner” on Dec. 18 at ULA.


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TulsaPeople February 2019  

TulsaPeople February 2019