Non-profit uses gardening to impact Dallas students

Non-profit teaches kids about healthy food through gardening

A Dallas-based non-profit organization is teaching kids about healthy food through gardening, and it’s having quite the impact on their souls.

“I was in public education for 40 years, and I've never seen something so transformational,” said Elizabeth Dry, executive director of Promise of Peace, or “POP," Community Gardens.

“We start with growing seeds, then cultivating rich soil... we have a compost and they understand the cycle of that,” said Dry, while walking the perimeter of the gardens at Bayles Elementary in East Dallas. “Of course watering, weeding, and walking peacefully thru the garden helps them experience the gentle way of behavior.”

The students also experience eating nutritious foods.

“We've grown our own cauliflower,” said 10-year old Jovahn Vasquez.

To see him walking through the garden, you’d never assume this third grader was struggling.

“Whenever I'm mad, I come to the garden and it helps me calm down,” said Vasquez, who has battled behavior problems in the classroom -- until he discovered gardening through Dry’s program.

“My mom said keep up the good work and keep going to the garden so it'll calm your anger down," said Vasquez. 

“It’s fun and makes me feel happy,” said Christopher Bendaw, 9. “It makes me want to come here every day. Even on weekends.” 

It may sound far-fetched, but spending time in the school garden has been life-changing for Jovahn and his classmates. 

“I want them to look at food and their community and the world differently,” said Dry, who started the program eight years ago. 

The recent recipient of the Texas Medical Association Health award, POP Gardens received money to buy fruit trees and start cooking classes for students and their families. 

“We also cater teacher luncheons and brunches,” said Dry. “We really want everyone to have access to this." 

A powerful way to grow healthy habits for young people striving to make their bodies feel and work better. 

For more information on how to support or volunteer for the program, go here.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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