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Lemmon Valley Elementary School students build school garden in partnership with Urban Roots Garden Classrooms
Health District assists in funding programs that teach important lessons about healthy behaviors

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.276.1021

Reno, NV - April 25, 2019 – In partnership with Urban Roots Garden Classrooms and using funding from the Washoe County Health District, students, families, and staff members at Lemmon Valley Elementary School are designing, building, and maintaining a new school garden where they will grow a variety of foods while learning academic concepts in the new outdoor classroom. 

This project is part of the Washoe County Health District’s 2018-2020 Community Health Improvement Plan which aims to increase physical activity and nutrition among adults and youth using the “5210 Let’s Go” framework. The 5210 message of eating five fruits and vegetables, participating in two hours or less of recreational screen time and one hour of physical activity, and consuming zero sugary drinks has been included in the Urban Roots school garden lessons. 

“Urban Roots is excited to see another garden classroom available in Washoe County and eager for Lemmon Valley’s students to fall in love with learning while growing,” said Fayth Ross, executive director of Urban Roots. “This really is a community effort. Our donors enable our work of teaching academic lessons and healthy habits to children through the lens of garden-based education.” 

“The partnership between Washoe County Health District, Urban Roots, and the Washoe County School District is a great example of how community partners can come together to improve the health of the community through projects like a school garden,” said Oscar Delgado, Reno City Councilman and member of the Washoe County District Board of Health. 

“At Lemmon Valley we encourage a variety of learning experiences that will engage and enrich students in Kindergarten through fifth grade,” said Michael Lansing, principal of Lemmon Valley Elementary School. “We are excited about the opportunity that Urban Roots and the Health District have provided and feel that the addition of a workable garden at our school will help to inspire and encourage students’ academic growth through a fun hands-on experience.” 

In addition to their home school and day camp programming, Urban Roots creates sustainable school gardens that are eventually managed independently by school staff members, students, and families. At Lemmon Valley Elementary School, students and families worked together to build raised planting beds where they will plant and grow kale, lettuce, and other nutrient-dense greens this spring. Eventually, they will also plant carrots, beets, spinach, rosemary, chard, and many other herbs and vegetables. The building plan was designed by Urban Roots and approved by the Washoe County School District (WCSD). 

During the school year, an Urban Roots teacher conducts teacher training to help educators incorporate the garden into their curriculum, and conducts weekly garden-based lessons for each student in the school. Volunteer groups will “adopt” the school’s garden and maintain it throughout the summer months when school is out of session. 

Urban Roots raises all necessary funds for building and maintaining the school garden at schools like Lemmon Valley Elementary School, where 50 percent or more of the students qualify for free- or reduced lunches. 

Students, families, and staff members at the school have measured pieces of wood partially donated by Truckee Tahoe Lumber, hammered nails, and filled planting beds with Full Circle Compost soil partially donated by Dayton Valley Turf. Planting will begin on Friday, April 26. 

“Students, teachers, and families are excited to build and plant our community garden here at Lemmon Valley Elementary School,” said Gemma Romo, who teaches English Learners at the school and has been instrumental in organizing the school garden effort. “Having a community garden will provide the students with rich and lifelong learning experiences, and teachers will be able to create an outdoor classroom environment to support their students’ education. We are looking forward to all the amazing things our garden will do for our school and the family and community involvement this will bring to help keep our garden in good shape!” 

Media Availability 

What: Students, families, WCSD staff members, and representatives of Urban Roots and the Washoe County Health District will begin planting their spring crops of food in their newly-constructed school garden.

When: Friday, April 26
           3 p.m.—brief interviews with organizers
           3:15 p.m.—interviews with WCSD staff members, students, and families
Where: Lemmon Valley Elementary School
            255 W. Patrician
 Who: Michael Lansing, principal of Lemmon Valley Elementary School
         Fayth Ross, executive director of Urban Roots
         Oscar Delgado, member of Reno City Council and Washoe County District Board of Health
         Gemma Romo, teacher at Lemmon Valley Elementary School
         Students and families of Lemmon Valley Elementary School
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »