Students at Virginia-Highland Elementary dig into their new Project Learning Garden beds and plant foods including celery and collard greens. (Dyana Bagby)

Students at the new Virginia-Highland Elementary School spent a recent morning prepping garden beds and plantings seeds for their new learning garden.

The garden installation event on Nov. 9 included planting radish and carrot seeds; celery, collard greens and lettuce seedlings; and also new blueberry plants, and some rosemary and mums. Funding for the garden beds, seeds, plants and tools were provided to the school through a Project Learning Garden grant from the Captain Planet Foundation and Dematic, an Atlanta-based logistics & automation supplier.

The learning garden grant is the first grant awarded to Virginia-Highland Elementary School, which opened this year with more than 500 students from Morningside and Springdale Park Elementary schools. The grant was written by STEAM teachers Young Ah Rhee and Jessica Correa.

First graders at Virginia-Highland Elementary School plant carrot seeds as part of their new Project Learning Garden located in the school’s central courtyard.. (Dyana Bagby)

Principal Terry Harness said the learning garden would help students understand the importance of sustainability, gardening, harvesting and giving back to the community.

On hand for the event were Atlanta City Councilmembers Alex Wan and Matt Westmoreland and Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education member Katie Howard.

Project Learning Garden is a holistic program that provides schools with the essential elements to establish and support their garden-based learning programs, according to the Captain Planet Foundation. There are more than 600 Project Learning Gardens in schools across 41 states.

Schools with learning gardens “report that students benefit from learning about nutrition and science, along with social studies, math, and language arts,” according to the Captain Planet Foundation.

“They can expand their palates, taste-test healthy foods, and learn about the origins of what they grow,” representatives from the foundation said.

Dematic partnered with the Captain Planet Foundation for the learning garden as part of its Global Community Outreach Program. The program supports building stronger communities by educating students about the environment and sustainability, said Meraj Anas, senior vice president of Global Execution and Sustainability.

Volunteers with Dematic, an Atlanta-based logistics & automation supplier, helped Virginia-Highland Elementary School first-grade students plant seeds on Nov. 9. The learning garden was funded through a grant from Dematic and the Captain Planet Foundation. (Dyana Bagby) Credit: Dyana Bagby
First-grade students at Virginia-Highland Elementary School plant carrot seeds in their new learning garden. (Dyana Bagby)

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.