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School Garden at Spring Lake School in Manito

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University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit and Spring Lake School District have worked closely together throughout the 2016-2017 school year to implement healthy nutrition and physical activity strategies in the lunchroom and across the school. With the help of U of I Extension staff, the school has implemented strategies to increase the student's consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Spring Lake School is excited to expand their efforts by implementing a school garden. The groundbreaking event for the school garden was held Saturday, June 3.

The garden plans include a main 20'x50' garden with an additional 12'x2' strawberry patch. Come harvest season, students will return to school and enjoy the fresh "school grown" produce in the cafeteria.

Throughout the summer community volunteers will get the garden prepped, planted, and maintained until the students return in the fall. To get involved or learn more information contact Spring Lake School at 309-545-2241. For the upcoming school year, U of I Extension staff will provide direct nutrition education in grades K-4, lunchroom tastings, healthy messaging support, and wellness policy technical assistance as the school strives for a more healthful environment.

Research has shown healthy eating and physical activity can contribute to academic success. The new school garden is a great way to incorporate both into the whole school. University of Illinois Extension is able to provide a school research-based curriculum, professional development for school staff and additional follow-up technical assistance at eligible schools.

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