Philadelphia first graders learn and plant in their school garden

Kelly Koreck was awarded a $720 grant and decided on creating a container garden in a small greenhouse on school grounds.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- First graders at Keystone Academy Charter School in the Tacony section of Philadelphia are getting their hands dirty.

They roll up their sleeves and get to work. After all, they have their own garden to care for.

"I kind of like dirt because they help the plants grow," explained first-grader Asher Martinez.

First-grade teacher Kelly Koreck attended a workshop last summer, and one of the topics was increasing accessibility to fresh produce in some urban areas.

The idea for a garden here was born.

"Although we think of food coming from these huge farms and that's where we get our produce and things like that, that they can actually do some of that on their own at their homes," Koreck said.

And in their school.

Koreck was awarded a $720 grant and decided on creating a container garden in a small greenhouse on school grounds.

"You can use flower pots and things like that to grow vegetables. You don't need a lot of space for those kind of things," Koreck said.

As first-grader Madden Pham explained, "Persons need to grow plants for people can actually eat real food, not junk food."

Some of the fruits and veggies will be ready before the end of school, others in the summer.

It can be hard to be patient, and these kids can't wait to sample.

"Because you need them to grow and grow big and strong," Martinez explained as he discussed fruits and vegetables.

Martinez continued, "I like just like trying new foods, but I really like something else that does not grow inside plants."

Like what?

"Donuts," Martinez answered.

This is the first year of this program; there's trial and error for these budding scientists and gardeners.

The first greenhouse was damaged in a windstorm, so the students found a more sheltered location.

Knowing they would be gone for spring break, students researched how to poke holes in recycled bottles, so water can slowly drip to the roots throughout the days they would not be in school.

Ideas, plants and minds all growing here.

"When I see plants grow, it's like so satisfying," said first-grader Reinalyz Torich.
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