Growing Gardens and Life Skills at Madison’s ALE Program

Jan 31, 2024 | Grants, Our Stories

Lynn Rice has transformed her ALE class into a thriving garden oasis with the help of an $1,100 NEEF grant. The garden is complete with raised plant beds, an outdoor table and chairs, as well as a storage shed stocked with all of the necessary equipment to garden successfully. With flourishing vegetables, flowers, and herbs, the ALE students, some of whom have never gardened before, have embraced this class with enthusiasm. The program not only teaches the students where their food comes from and the importance of nutrition, but also how to purchase and sell the items they make and how to collaborate with others.

Mrs. Rice has observed, “There has been a noticeable difference in their cooperation while working in the garden. It has made a vast difference.” One project that directly teaches them real-life skills is the Mavs Kickin Salsa. The students grow the ingredients, make the salsa, and then sell it, giving them the opportunity to learn entrepreneurship and business skills.

One student, Damien Rodriguez, who is now a junior was thrilled about the prospect of making the Mavs Kickin Salsa. He loved raking the leaves and talked about growing tomatoes. He enthusiastically spoke about the vegetables they grew and even plans to grow a garden of his own at home. The ALE garden program not only promotes healthy eating and entrepreneurship but also provides students with the confidence and skills to succeed in the workforce.

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