The KCK Organic Teaching Gardens, is an Initiative of The University of Kansas School of Medicine, Office of Cultural Enhancement and Diversity, K-12 Initiative.
Located at seven schools. The KCK Organic Teaching Gardens have built organic, “raised bed” gardens directly on the school grounds of three Middle Schools and four Elementary Schools in the inner city of the Kansas City, Kansas USD #500.
Mark Manning serves as Coordinator of the KCK Organic Teaching Gardens under the guidance of Marcia Pomeroy.
Each year 1000 to 2000 students, between K through 8th grades, participate in 9 months of workshops that include: Planting and Harvesting Fall, Spring and Summer Gardens, learning about the Parts of a Seed and the Parts of a Plant, Composting and Worms, the Multi-Culturalism of the Garden, George Washington Carver and the history of Sweet Potatoes, Trees and Tree Planting, Bees, Insects and Spiders. Workshops involve preparing food, harvested from the garden, for students to eat, reading from garden literature, and connecting students to their own classroom curriculum benchmarks. Garden Coordinator, Mark Manning conducts over 300 workshops annually in classrooms at these schools.
The KCK Organic Teaching Gardens aims to make connections with students and teachers in KCK classrooms with living breathing gardens on their school grounds, using science, math, culture, nutrition, health, careers, history and literature. To demonstrate and educate where our food comes from, how we can grow our own food, how all of nature works together in an ecosystem. To show how we all learn from our gardens how to treat ourselves and the world better.
The KCK Organic Teaching Gardens has been financially supported through grants from The Kauffman Foundation, and The University of Kansas Medical Center. The project has been recognized locally and nationally by The National Gardening Association, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Community Gardens, The Green Bliss Festival, The Urban Farm & Garden Tour, and on the PBS television program America’s Heartland.