McKinney ISD's Webb Elementary School builds educational garden

The Webb Elementary Garden was started in 2019 to educate students about healthy eating.

The Webb Elementary Garden was started in 2019 to educate students about healthy eating.

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After learning that more than 80% of Webb Elementary School students are on the free or reduced lunch plans, McKinney resident and parent Stacy Apple said she decided it was time to make a difference.

Apple’s vision came to fruition in the form of the Webb Elementary Garden, which opened to students this fall. The garden, with the help of students, grows produce and herbs that can be used in the cafeteria. The garden is meant to teach students self-sustainability and healthy eating habits. The garden is also implemented into the campus’s curriculum.

“Every child that is enrolled in Webb Elementary and our Alpha program has the opportunity to work in the garden,” Apple said. “Our goal is to get one class a week out of the classroom and bring them into the garden.”

More than 400 Webb Elementary students and 150 Alpha students have access to the garden. Alphas are students enrolled in the gifted and talented program across McKinney ISD campuses.

The garden was funded by $9,000 in grants awarded by The Seed Project and the Whole Kids Foundation. With their help, the garden was able to surpass its original Phase 1 goal and now houses a pond; a monarch butterfly hatchery; and more than seven types of vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers and okra.

Next year the garden is expected to incorporate fish, edible water plants and an erosion bed into the existing pond for an aquaponics program, Apple said. In future years, Apple said she hopes to add a chicken coop and bee hive to teach students various lessons regarding pollination and honey-harvesting.
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