While the primary responsibility of schools is to foster academic achievement, schools also have the opportunity to build healthier lifestyles for students.

Many schools in the Midcoast are now providing for healthy nutrition environments in dynamic settings, such as school gardens, that foster improved student health. Students who participate in school garden projects discover fresh local food, make healthier food choices, and are physically active. In addition, schools are incorporating these gardens into the curriculum and gardening enriches every subject area, from art to social studies, including special education classes.

Earlier this month, following the lead of other area schools, the Appleton Village School, with the help of Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine, created a new herb garden on the front lawn of the school. A new greenhouse was delivered to Hope Elementary School last week to continue its program and Lincolnville Central School students are working on a garden in front of their school.

From Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro with its successful heirloom garden project, to Camden Hills Regional High School’s expanding garden and orchard, the Camden-Rockport Elementary School garden, Rockland’s Youthlinks garden, Prescott Memorial School in Washington, Friendship Village School, Warren Community School, schools all across Knox and Lincoln counties are seeing the benefits of gardening.

We salute these schools, and the ones we failed to mention, for fostering programs that are sure to shape the future of our children.