Contact: Jessica Randazzo, LSU AgCenter, email@example.com
FRANKLIN, La. – In January 2021, Franklin Junior High wanted more for their students than to return to pre-pandemic normal. They were on a mission to provide new hands-on learning opportunities.
With funding provided by the St. Mary Parish School Board, principal Ina, staff member Stacy LaFont and staff member Norma Troquille were able to make their dreams a reality by building a home economics room and greenhouse on campus.
The home economics room features five kitchen stations with sinks, counter space, and ovens for students to learn the basics of safe, healthy cooking. Students have also used the greenhouse to grow produce from seed for their school garden.
Jessica Randazzo, LSU AgCenter SNAP-Ed nutrition agent, has partnered with Franklin Junior High to teach garden-based nutrition lessons to 6th through 8th graders.
“Teaching students how to grow their own fresh produce has become even more important after the local grocery store closed in 2022, making this area a food desert,” said Randazzo.
Randazzo aims to provide students with the tools they need to build life-long healthy habits like scratch cooking skills and best garden practices.
“When asked about participating in the garden program Destanee Figueroa said, “So far, I love gardening. It motivates me to try new vegetables and fruits I’ve never tried before. I love how I can learn new things that can be helpful or can help with things I struggle with like science.”
The Walmart Healthy Habits Grant provided additional funding to purchase garden equipment for the school like shovels and hoses.
For more information about garden-based nutrition lessons from the LSU AgCenter in St. Mary or St. Martin parish, contact Randazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (337) 828-4100.
Destanee Figueroa, 7th grade
Malyk Romero, 8th grade
Starting from left 6th grade: Evelyn Hernandez, Imani Williams, Zowey Lovely, and Kendal Hunt. 7th grade: Destanee Figueroa, 8th grade: Roneisha Jones, Darius Colar, and Brayden LeBlanc.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture