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Kicking things off!

May 11, 2017 -

The Environmental Center launches a new vision to bring an outdoor learning space to every school in Central Oregon

The Environmental Center’s seventh growing season is now underway in the Kansas Avenue Learning Garden, located at 16 NW Kansas Ave. The Learning Garden has over 50 beds that grow fruits and vegetables, herbs, flowers and native plants. There’s also a greenhouse, a beehive, a monarch butterfly way station and multiple gathering spaces.

This year, The Environmental Center (TEC) team is once again getting hundreds of local youth outside and connected to where their food comes from. Garden activities and education provide a wide range of positive benefits for kids, communities and the environment. That’s why TEC has recently outlined a more ambitious long-term vision: an outdoor classroom at every school in Central Oregon.

TEC has identified several strategies to help achieve this vision, including: strengthening the Central Oregon Garden Educator Network; hiring a FoodCorps service member; providing schools with small grants; and facilitating district-wide support for gardens.

A FoodCorps member will be joining the TEC team this summer around mid-August. FoodCorps service members are talented leaders that spend one year of paid, full-time public service building healthy school food environments. During his/her time in Bend, this member will provide garden expertise and support to several schools throughout Central Oregon.

To help fund this multi-faceted strategy, TEC has launched an online fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $11,250 this summer. The campaign features a partnership with singer-songwriter Jack Johnson’s All At Once social action network, which helps to make positive change in local communities. Through this partnership, TEC will receive a $3,000 donation from the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation. The fundraising campaign will culminate at the Jack Johnson concert on July 20th at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, where TEC will have an interactive booth for participants to learn more about school gardens.

The campaign will kick off on June 6th at Happy Hour in the Garden, a fun volunteer event where community members are invited to work in the Learning Garden while enjoying a cold drink. The event on June 6th will feature live music from Joe Balsamo, beverages from Worthy Brewing, Boneyard Beer, Humm Kombucha and Caboost Kombucha, and food from Garden Sponsors Savory Spice and El Sancho. Those who attend and volunteer in the garden will also be entered into a raffle to win two tickets to Jack Johnson’s sold-out Bend show.

Visit envirocenter.org/schoolgardens to learn more about and support this campaign.