Bonnabel High School Gumbo Garden
The sun was bright. A light breeze was blowing. It was a perfect morning for gardening…and that’s just what a group of students at Bonnabel High School did!
On Wednesday, March 7 a group of 30 students from the Culinary Arts class came together to plant a “Gumbo Garden” for the school. The students, along with students from the school’s wellness committee, had chosen to plant a garden with vegetables which could be used in a gumbo. With the help of Karen Walker and JB Anders from the LSU Ag Center, the students learned about the various vegetables as well as the proper way to plant and care for them. They learned that the “hairs” on the stem of tomato plant can actually root when it comes in contact with soil which is why tomato plants are staked! They also learned that marigolds are often planted along with vegetables because they can deter some insect activity. The students planted all of the plants and will continue to care for and tend the garden. As the vegetables are harvested, they will be used in the Culinary Arts class.
Ochsner, through its Change the Kids, Change the Future™ project, is excited to build upon the partnership it enjoys with Bonnabel High School with their school garden. Not only is it an opportunity to teach the students practical gardening and cooking skills, it helps develop a better appreciation of the food they eat and introduces them to the importance of eating healthy. Studies show that a majority of children do not eat the recommended amount of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. This denies the children the nutritional benefit of a balanced diet which can lead to disease and obesity. In fact, in Louisiana, more than 47% of children between the ages of two and 19 are overweight or obese. A garden program increases produce availability and creates opportunities to teach students what they should eat through fun, hands-on experiences.
Through its Change the Kids, Change the Future™ initiative, Ochsner works to affect meaningful, positive changes in the lives of kids and families to improve the health of the next generation and reduce chronic disease in our community. Learn more about Change the Kids, Change the Future™ here. We are grateful to LSU Ag Center, who provided the expertise for planning, implementing and maintaining the garden. Financial support was generously provided by The Humana Foundation and Ochsner Health System.