Beatrice Garden Is Blooming

Freddie Howard recently posted some photographs to his Garden Blog. Check out their progress by clicking on the link:

Freddie, post a comment and tell us what you’re growing and how much you’ve harvested so far!?

Keep up the hot work!


Beatrice PACERS Chapter – First Report

The Beatrice Elementary School/PACERS Community Chapter has started its own blog.

Please click on the link below to read their first blog entry:

(This report was submitted by Freddie Howard)

Why Have Community/School Gardens

Why Have School and Community Gardens?

PACERS supports student involvement in school-based gardening programs as core activities in schools because*:

  • they improve academic performance—including improvement in test scores.  Math and science are particular areas of improvement.
  • they strengthen students’ interest in learning and participation in school—including better attendance.
  • they  contribute to the personal and moral development of children.

*All the reasons for the program are documented through extensive academic studies.

PACERS supports school-based gardening programs because:

  • they have great potential for improving school and family nutrition.
  • gardening is a life skill and interest that will result in improved personal health and  will have economic implications for individual families.
  • gardens function as living labs that are engaging to students and provide them hands-on and consequential learning opportunities.
  • gardens are  important aesthetic additions to schools.
  • local community members will donate their skills and resources to gardening programs because they appreciate their relevance to rural life.
  • they are contexts that bring together adults and children and young people.
  • they are public demonstrations of good instructional practices and educational outcomes.


PACERS supports community gardens because:

  • they have proven capacity to serve as contexts for community collaboration, engagement, and improvement.
  • they teach and/or renew skills essential for growing and preserving food.  These skills are important for low cost access to healthy foods.
  • they can help meet the food needs of low-income community members.
  • they have community development as well as entrepreneurial potential—especially with the increase in the “local food” movement.


In collaboration with the Camp Hill and Packer’s Bend chapters and their schools , PACERS initiated community/school garden programs in December, 2009.  Funds from the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation supported the expansion of programs to Akron and Beatrice.  Pintlala and Section programs are underway and plans are being made at Red Level and Loachapoka.  Comprehensive curriculum  directly related to the Alabama Course of Study will be available in 2011; a garden blog for information sharing has been started; and there are some funds for new programs.  Contact Jack Shelton at for more information.

Beatrice’s Garden is Under Way

Beatrice PACERS Chapter is up and working on their garden!

Garden site picked.  Soil samples taken.  Soil samples back.  First officers and Board meeting on Feb.7th Budget set.  Lime for soil awaiting  dry condition for spreading and soil prep. First Community meeting was held at Beatrice Elementary Jan. 11,  Successful.  Second Org. meeting was held  Feb. 2.  Board and Officers budget meeting Feb. 7. Successful.  The work continues.

Beatrice Elementary School
Principal, Carol R. Brown

Beatrice PACERS Chapter
President, Freddie C. Howard

(This report was submitted by Freddie Howard)

Why Gardens?

There are several reasons that this project was started—they are listed below and I hope that you will add to that list other reasons that your community and school are participating. 

  • Research shows that students who garden are more interested in school and make better grades.
  • PACERS believes that science is best learned by students doing the work of scientists which includes our aquaculture, solar, and gardening programs.  There is a lot of science and math to be learned from gardening—that is why we are emphasizing the lesson plans.
  • Community/school gardens are proven to make stronger connections between schools and communities and can serve as a means for enhancing community life and well-being.
  • Community gardens can help meet local food needs and can become the basis for entrepreneurship as well.

Gardens – Grant Money & Lesson Plans

Remember that part of the grant money you receive must be spent on lesson plans to be prepared by teachers.  More about this later—for now you should know that the lesson plans will be collected and published by PACERS and that there will be a small stipend for lesson plans that meet the basic criteria for the project.

Gardens – 2011 Conference Details

There will be a session on the project at the PACERS Annual Conference (April 22 at Camp Hill) and a chance to visit the excellent garden started last year by the Camp Hill Chapter.  There is a lot to learn from what they have done.