Gardening Know How Sponsorship Recipient: Edward Gideon Elementary School

This year, Gardening Know How's School and Community Garden Sponsorship Program was fortunate enough to help support 20 gardens with $1,000 each. These gardens represent a wide array of community and school programs, from Florida to Saskatchewan and many places in between. Each has its own unique and powerful story, and we're excited to share them with you. Every other week we'll highlight one of our sponsorship recipients to help spread the word about how amazing they really are. This week we're featuring the Edward Gideon Elementary School.

The Edward Gideon Elementary School is located in the Strawberry Mansion area of Philadelphia, PA, which is considered to be a food desert with 46% of its households living below the poverty line. Gideon is a Community School, meaning it is a public school with a full-time coordinator from the Mayor's office who works closely with the district's entire community to address the needs of students in and out of school. The school is committed to doing what's best for its kids, and one obvious example of that is its school garden.

The defunct Gideon School Garden was rebuilt last year with help from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia City Repair, and volunteers from the community. Students grew lettuce, beets, carrots, and swiss chard, as well as native perennial flowers for attracting pollinators. For many of the kids involved, this was their first hands-on interaction with gardening and fresh produce.

The school garden has a huge impact on students, who learn about new foods, new animals, and new concepts all in a natural, healthy environment. With Gardening Know How's help, garden leaders plan to purchase tools students and their families can use whenever they need, plus a compost bin that will double as a useful addition to the garden and a great teaching aid.

With the grant from Gardening Know How, the Edward Gideon Elementary School will be able to set up a more permanent school garden and expand its opportunities to teach kids about the importance of eating healthy and getting their hands dirty. We're proud to be able to help them realize their dream.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.