PRIDE Academy Receives Berry Good Food Grant

PRIDE Academy Receives Berry Good Food Grant
Posted on 12/05/2023

PRIDE Academy has been awarded a grant from the Berry Good Food Foundation to revitalize a neglected garden space into a thriving, environmentally sustainable living classroom.

“The PRIDE Academy Garden program is designed to encourage students to engage in collaborative planning with their peers, understand the importance of pollinators within our ecosystem, and assist in establishing good nutritional habits at an early age,” said Principal Dr. Kristen Bonser. “The revitalization of this garden space will enrich the school’s educational environment and foster a culture of sustainability, experiential learning, and community engagement.”

Berry Good Food is providing PRIDE Academy with a mix of monetary and educational resources to support the garden program. The PRIDE Academy Garden project is split into three phases over the 2023-24 and 2024-2025 school years. In addition to funds received from the Santee School District Foundation’s Innovative Grant Program and funds raised through school efforts, Berry Good Food’s grant will help fund the first phase, focusing on the restoration of the garden’s lower level for the students to utilize during the current school year. This includes:

  • restoring the garden with native plants and pollinator gardens;
  • installing a new drip irrigation system to adequately water the beds while cutting down on water waste;
  • the implementation of a composting program to help aid in waste reduction;
  • installing an access gate and shed to protect and store supplies; and
  • four activity stations for students to participate in hands-on activities and demonstrations.

The school garden will also serve as an interdisciplinary learning space, integrating various subjects such as science, math, social studies, and nutrition. Students will deepen their understanding of the natural world, NGSS CrossCutting Concepts, ecological systems, and sustainable agriculture practices through hands-on experiences. Math skills will be used by having students measure and determine appropriate plant spacing. Through themed cuisine beds, students can engage in the history of different cultures and their agricultural methods. Additionally, students can explore art by drawing parts of plants to explore the pollination process.

Every year Berry Good Food awards grants to K-12 schools and community educational organizations with garden projects that support healthy food education in San Diego County. The foundation supports a local and regenerative food system in San Diego and Baja California, empowering communities to build bridges between farmers, chefs, scientists, and citizens to challenge the industrial food system while advocating for access to healthy food for all.

The garden project exemplifies a collaborative effort between PRIDE Academy, parents, community members, and the esteemed San Diego Master Gardener Association. These entities will work together to educate and inspire students by creating a vibrant and educational garden space where students can actively engage in the process of planting and nurturing a variety of crops. The San Diego Master Gardener Association's involvement and industry connections will enable the school to host events and educational programs that involve parents, community members, and local organizations, fostering a strong sense of community engagement and pride.

Follow along on PRIDE Academy’s social media to check in on the garden project progress! You can learn more about the Berry Good Food Foundation here.