Through a partnership between Norfolk Public Schools, the Newby Foundation and the Norfolk Police Department, students learned how to garden and how to stay healthy.
NORFOLK, Va. — Students at St. Helena Elementary School discussed health and safety over salads with Norfolk police officers Wednesday afternoon.
The Norfolk Police Department (NPD) recently gifted $10,000 to fund five tower gardens at the elementary school. Since then, students have grown their own vegetables in the air-driven gardening system, according to a news release.
Today, the students shared their harvest with the department through a nutritious meal.
The harvest event comes just before National Police Week, which kicks off next Monday.
Current and retired police officers spoke with the students about becoming a “positive superhero” in their community through healthy choices and nutrition. Officers also mentioned gun violence in the community — and described how it “stunts and kills growth.”
Norfolk Police Chief Mark Talbot was there, too. The event is one of his first public appearances in his new role.
The tower gardens were supported through a partnership between Norfolk Public Schools, NPD and the Newby Foundation, which works to support healthy food choices and STEM knowledge in the community.
Peggy Newby, a member of the Newby Foundation board, said the tower gardens help support the foundation’s goal.
“We have made it our mission to introduce how nutrition education, healthy eating, and exercise can positively impact children. If we start with the young children, we can influence the entire family and the community as a whole,” Newby said in the news release.
Today’s salads were named “NeWbiTEs” as a nod to not only the foundation but also the periodic table.
The students are using their experience working with the gardens to learn more about minerals and elements, how to assess the PH of soil and the growth cycle.
Tower gardens use aeroponic gardening, which means people can grow vegetables without soil. Instead, the plants rely on air to deliver nutrients, according to the news release. This function makes the garden accessible for smaller growing areas, like apartments or classrooms.
Three other Norfolk schools have tower gardens: Southside STEM Academy at Campostella, Ingleside Elementary School and Suburban Park Elementary School.
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