Carolyn Lewis Elementary (Conway School District) – Success Story

Carolyn Lewis used ISEP funds to purchase a rain barrel and attached it to the existing garden shed to allow access to rain water to water the plants. During this summer this is especially helpful for our families participating in the “adopt the Garden” program when school is not is session.

The rain barrel assisted in the efforts to broaden the sustainability of the Garden Café program. Faculty and students started a composting program working with the cafeteria utilizing food scraps from lunches, yard waste, and coffee grounds from the faculty lounge which resulted in 9 cubic feet of compose during the school year.  This was utilized in the hands-on monthly gardening, cooking, and nutrition lessons, after-school gardening /cooking club and ultimately creating healthy school meals.

Many taste-tests were provided with food that were grown in the garden including sweet potato fries, tomato-basil poppers, vegetable soup, radish salsa, lettuce/kale bites, and seasoned foods in the cafeteria with herbs from the garden.

Events included an Arkansas Farm to School Summit where 80 participants learned from the garden/cooking club students led different stations, including ones about creating school meals and how to support local farmers.

The school also implements a Vegetable Preference survey which includes pre- and post-tests connected to vegetable preferences.  Ninety-Four percent of the students increased their preference of veggies after the grant was implemented.

image of Carolyn Lewis Elementary mention in newspaper  image of Carolyn Lewis Elementary mention in newspaper