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  • Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Science



     When vegetable gardening, the Earth’s natural food cycles are integrated into the cycles of planting, growing, harvesting, composting and recycling, and these garden cycles are in turn implanted in larger systems that have further interconnections. Food cycles interconnect with the water cycle, the nitrogen, carbon dioxide - oxygen cycle, the nutritive cycle, and the cycle of the seasons. Vegetable gardening involves ...

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  • Friday, December 13, 2013 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Educators , Lesson Plans , Science , REAL Teacher Journal

    What did the fig tree teach Ms. Burn’s 2nd grade class at Highland Meadows Elementary?



    Engage- Students independently estimated the number of figs on the tree. 

    Explore - Partners identified a branch and then counted the number of figs on their branch.

    Explain - Teams wrote their numbers down and we added double digit numbers using sidewalk chalk.  Teacher modeled with help from students the addition process.  We concluded that there were around 40 figs on the tree. 

    Elaborate - Students gathered around the tree again, picked a fig from the ground, and identified a leaf that ...

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  • Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Community , REAL Supporters

    What do a Peugeot pepper mill and a REAL school garden have in common?  According to Executive Chef Blaine Staniford of GRACE restaurant, they are both essential tools for a wonderful Schoolyard Harvest Dinner!  In the interview below, the chef tells us more about which ingredients make his cooking - and the annual Schoolyard Harvest - so special.  Come taste and see for yourself this Thursday - it's not too late to get your ticket!

    1. Most useful kitchen tool? "Besides my chef knife, I love my Peugeot pepper mill."

    A pepper mill is specifically designed to ...

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  • Friday, October 18, 2013 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Community , REAL Supporters

    At Meadowbrook Elementary in East Fort Worth the beginning of the school year is always full of promise. As students dig into the curriculum, they also dig into the soil of their school garden to plant the promise of a very special harvest. Every autumn for the past three years, Meadowbrook students have participated in the Schoolyard Harvest Dinner, a unique opportunity for students to grow vegetables with a special purpose - to be served by award-winning Chef Blaine Staniford at GRACE Restaurant in Fort Worth. From September to November, students cultivate a dedicated crop of organic vegetables and ...

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  • Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Filed under Volunteering , Health and Nutrition , Community , Smart Potatoes

    Hi!  I'm James Reed, the summer intern at REAL School Gardens.  Welcome to my office.  

    James Wrangles Chickens and KidsHere, you will be hard pressed to find eye straining fluorescents, barricading cubicles, or endless filing cabinets. My office space is rather spacious and designed specifically to be engaging. Living the life of a Corporate Engagement Intern at REAL School Gardens, I work in outdoor classrooms (learning gardens), but I also cultivate relationships with businesspeople across the Metroplex.  At REAL School Gardens, a good day’s work and a job well done mean a multitude of things…  and if you don’t feel accomplished at the ...

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  • Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | Filed under Health and Nutrition

    Salisbury steak, corn dogs, rectangular pizza. We can all remember some of the regular menu items from our school lunches. But what about "Elotes Washington" (corn brushed with cayenne and parmesan), Creole vegetable hash or carrot cupcakes?

    Students from Chicago-area high schools put forth these ideas and many more at the "Cooking Up Change" event back in November. This event is put on by the Healthy Schools Campaign and the flagship context in Chicago has now been replicated in other cities and with a national-level event held in Washington, DC in May. Teams of high school students work ...

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  • Tuesday, November 13, 2012 | Filed under Sustainability and Funding , Health and Nutrition , Community , Family Activities , REAL Supporters


    Community Night is an opportunity for schools or not-for-profit groups to have a great fundraiser at Blue Mesa Grill. This Thursday evening, November 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm, Blue Mesa Grill in Addison is hosting a Community Night dinner benefiting the REAL school learning garden at John J. Pershing Elementary (Dallas ISD). 




    All friends and community members are invited to enjoy creations featuring spinach, lettuce and cilantro grown in the REAL school garden at John J. Pershing Elementary.  Dinner will be $20.00 per person with 25% of the proceeds donated back to the Pershing school learning ...

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  • Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Community

    Every fall, REAL School Gardens partners with GRACE Restaurant to provide students at several of our school partners in Fort Worth with a unique opportunity to grow, learn and eat together! This year, four of our Fort Worth schools are participating and have been growing dedicated crops of green beans, lettuce, carrots and Swiss chard to be transformed into a gourmet meal by award-winning chef, Blaine Staniford.

    Green bean plant

    Chef Staniford will be headed out to visit participating schools this week to check on the progress of his ingredients and to spend some time with the young growers who make this ...

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  • Tuesday, October 16, 2012 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Health and Nutrition , Science





    Walking through an elementary school I found the following quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson framed and hanging in the school hall “A weed is a plant whose virtue has not yet been discovered”. This means that of all the tools, foods, medicines and fibers that have been discovered from the world of plants called weeds, there are still new plants and new uses of the plants to discover.

    The student pictured above has samples of two weeds pulled from the school garden that were plants used historically as a flavoring, a spice and an edible food. ...

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  • Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Student Behavior , Health and Nutrition , Family Activities


    I had an epiphany when an acquaintance described himself as the “green sheep” of his family.  “Wow,” I thought,” that’s what I am!” 

    It wasn’t until they read an article recently published in Dallas Child magazine that my family seemed to finally understand what it is that REAL School Gardens does and why we do it.   They seemed to think I spend my days digging in dirt, trying to convince elementary students to eat their veggies.  Of course, the vegetables are an important part, but a small part, of our efforts to increase student engagement ...

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