Veggie U: Students planting gardens right in the classroom - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Veggie U: Students planting gardens right in the classroom

Veggie U in Cleveland. (Source: WOIO) Veggie U in Cleveland. (Source: WOIO)
Students learning to grow their own vegetables. (Source: WOIO) Students learning to grow their own vegetables. (Source: WOIO)
Cleveland student learning more about vegetables. (Source: WOIO) Cleveland student learning more about vegetables. (Source: WOIO)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Ever try to get your kids to eat their vegetables? It's usually pretty tough.

But in several Cleveland schools the students are actually enthusiastic about the green stuff!

That's because they're growing gardens right in their classrooms.

The students at Orchard STEM School are enrolled in Veggie U---it's a non-profit program that places gardens in classrooms across the country.

 Students participate in a 5 week curriculum that teaches them how real food reaches their plates. 

"We have a lot of fun and we can make messes and we don't get in trouble," said 2nd grader, Amani. 

"Children literally don't know that vegetables grow out of the ground and carrots don't come from the grocery store and popcorn kernels are actually seeds," said Vicki Jenkins, marketing director for Veggie U. 

Their teachers say they've been trying new things.

Some of the students had food prejudices.



"If it was green, they definitely turning their nose up and initially when I had all the vegetables out, they walked in the room like, no, no, I don't want that. No Ms. Greys, I'm not trying this," said Monica Grays, 2nd grade teacher.

But now, they're on board.

"What's your favorite vegetable now? " asked Cleveland 19 News Reporter Sia Nyorkor. 

"Celery!" said 2nd grader Laterrus. 

"I like when I put the seeds in the pot," said Brianna.

And they're even brave about some of the squirmy things like worms.

"Some of the people in my class were like ew, ew, we don't want slimy things on there," said Brianna. 

Their teachers are thrilled and hope they can keep this going.

"There was some confusion with things with zucchini and cucumbers, they thought they were the same but it's really exciting to see them taste new vegetables and see that they like them," said Susan Ehlert, 2nd grade teacher.

"I can't wait until all our vegetables grow and we can make the soup and we can taste all our hard work," said Amani.  

Veggie U is a non-profit organization funded with grants and donations in-kind. Programs cost about $80,000
to implement in the classroom.

The programs in Cleveland metro are half-funded. If you'd like to know more about donating, you can click HERE.

Veggie U will host a Food & Wine Festival on April 30. 

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