Big Green is building Learning Gardens in low-income schools across the US, in efforts to build a healthier future for kids.
Learning Gardens teach children an understanding of food, healthy eating, and garden skills through experiential learning and garden-based education that tie into existing school curriculum, such as math, science, and literacy.
Part-playground, part-outdoor classroom, the learning gardens serve as spaces where students learn about growing their own fruits and veggies.
The nonprofit organisation currently reaches over 250,000 students in six cities around the country each day through its Learning Gardens. Big Green aims to reach 500,000 students in 1,000 schools, across 10 regions by 2020.
Big Green was founded in 2011 by restaurateurs Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson. The duo co-founded The Kitchen Restaurant Group together in 2004 and were supporting local school garden initiatives through their restaurants.
They were inspired by the way school gardens can help kids increase their preference for nutritious foods, develop healthier responses to stress, and improve their academic performance. They wanted to find a way to achieve that same kind of local impact at scale, so that children all over the country could reap the benefits of a thriving school garden.
Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson founded Big Green, formerly The Kitchen Community, in order to create a replicable, scalable school garden solution. They built the first-ever Learning Garden in Denver, Colorado at Schmitt Elementary.
Kimbal Musk, brother of technology entrepreneur and Tesla founder Elon Musk, said: “We wanted to teach kids about food, but also to pay homage to the fact that we’re getting them outside; we’re getting them connected to nature and to understand the way the Earth and climate works — and really give them an education beyond food. We didn’t want to pigeonhole ourselves in food. We do so much more than that.”
The food revolutionary is also the mastermind behind Square Roots – a seed-to-sales urban farm, connecting people in cities to local, real food. Through this urban farming project, Kimbal Musk has set up 10 sustainable farms in shipping containers that produce 50 to 100 pounds of food every week, the equivalent of that traditionally produced by 2 acres of farmland.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea