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by youth programs intern Reece Trevor

Slow Food USA will profile a number of our 2008 Slow Food in Schools Micro-Grant recipients in the coming months. Look out for these profiles, along with best practice suggestions for Slow Food in Schools projects from our 2008 Micro-Grant recipients, which will be housed on the Youth Programs page this fall.

Diablo Community Day School isn’t a typical high school. Its students have been expelled from every other school in the district; many of them have been shuttled around the alternative education system for months. Diablo Day is their last chance.

Something else sets Diablo Day apart: its school garden. In mid-2008, volunteers from Slow Food Delta Diablo, supported by a Slow Food USA Micro-Grant and donations from local businesses, set up an 8-bed garden on Diablo Day’s grounds and planted a number of permanent fruit trees. Every Tuesday for the rest of the school year, the “garden ladies” would join students in the garden as they learned about new foods and new ways of eating.

Within weeks of the garden’s opening, teachers at Diablo Day started to notice its successes. From the slow food perspective, the benefits of growing closer to their food was obvious, but the kids got much more. Teachers were amazed at how well gardening promoted teamwork and communications skills. Most of all, Diablo Day’s students go home knowing that they’ve created something that they can nurture as it grows–from a seed into an edible plant. As one student put it, “In the garden, I feel a sort of peace. I feel so proud of myself because I know that some of the wonderful things that I planted are still growing.”