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Okaloosa Co. elementary school teaching students urban agriculture
OKALOOSA CO., Fla. -- High prices in the produce aisle won't be a problem for a group of Okaloosa County kids.
They're learning to grow their own food in a garden that was dedicated Friday.
Look, we have tomatoes! Matter of fact, looks like a bountiful crop at Edwins Elementary and the gardeners are all under 12 years old.
Urban agriculture is a fast-growing movement.
Teaching it has extra meaning at a school where 71 percent of the students are on the free or reduced lunch program.
"They need to be able to supplement their table," said teacher Sherri Harkins.
The kids learn that poor soil or lack of space can't keep them from making something grow.
"You can basically grow a garden in anything," said Tate Freeman, 5th grade.
"I love this. Ever since I started working in the gardens, now I want a garden at my house," said Tyrell Marshall, 5th grader.
The green space was funded by a grant and community donations plus lots of sweat equity from the adults.
Tyrell Marshall shows off the fifth grade garden, where the cabbage is almost ready for harvest .
"They got very big in like two weeks and they was boom!" said Tyrell.
Some of the produce has already been sampled in the school cafeteria.
"It's broccoli, we've eaten it before and it was really good. It's ripe, it's really delicious, and then we've eaten the collards also. And if you go around right there and lift up some leaves, you can see where we cut them," Tate said.
"I cooked collards for sixty 5th graders in my classroom and out of 60 kids, 60 ate them. And 57 loved them. Now that's a miracle," Sherri said.
The monster collards and all the ripe produce raised by the Edwins Urban Agriculture Club will be sold at the Fort Walton Beach Farmer's Market. They'll use the money to grow more food.