A local community college is working together with the City of Roanoke and Roanoke Public Schools to help middle school students make healthy choices.
The partnership, between Virginia Western Community College and the city, will officially break ground on a new garden learning center at James Madison Middle this afternoon at 1:30. ADA compliant garden beds are going in right now as part of the garden learning center for the Food for Thought: An Edible Education Partnership. It will eventually include an indoor and outdoor classroom, composting center and amphitheater.
The center is designed to expose kids to food production and healthy eating. "They're going to learn at a young age, the impact of school, the impact on nutrition, the impact that has on their overall health and their overall education as well," said Erik Williams, Virginia Western Community College. "They'll really be able to get their hands dirty and in the garden to plant, see how things grow, how they mature, learn the different growing cycle."
The first phase of the project will be complete in a month and ready for its first crops in the spring. Williams says the goal is to expand the program to all five Roanoke middle schools.
Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash and Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore will be at the groundbreaking this afternoon at 1:30 p.m.. The program, showcasing a partnership between community colleges and public schools as a model fro schools across the Commonwealth.