We eat what we grow! That’s what’s happening at Hillcrest Elementary School in Catonsville. Hillcrest received a 21st Century Enrichment Grant to help create a garden in their courtyard. Second grade teacher Mary Beth Capka orchestrated the grant process.

The outdoor classroom allows students to plant and harvest vegetables and herbs. The Catonsville community is involved in this educational process of healthy lifestyles and farm-to-table eating. Hillcrest has invited dietitians and healthy eating experts to facilitate assemblies with each grade level.

The result? A variety of programs that can educate students in the importance of food sustainability and environmental literacy. The Hillcrest courtyard is now considered a Tier V garden from the BCPS Office of Outdoor Science and is used as an example of what is possible in schools around the county. It is a successful partnership between volunteers, the community, students, and teachers.

We’ll continue to watch as the future success of this garden delivers lessons on many platforms. Students will learn about sustainability and where our food originates. It will also serve as a habitat for insects and birds and serve as a nice addition to the school’s science curriculum. The garden could even lead to business partnerships that will support this endeavor in the future.

We at the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools give Hillcrest Elementary School a big, green thumbs-up.

Note: The Hillcrest Elementary School’s grant was made possible through a 21st Century Enrichment Grant project funded by Hot Spots Extended Care Program through The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, Inc.