Where Learning Grows

Target is in their fourth year funding Think Together’s Workforce Readiness Education Programs (WREP) for 500 students across four high schools in Compton Unified School District. WREP programs help cultivate interests and support students as they prepare for college and careers after high school. This school year not only is Target helping to support students prepare for the future, but they are also helping students grow new skills. 

Think Together would like to thank Target for additional funding this year to install gardens at Think Together high school programs in Compton. Think Together students at Centennial High School have enjoyed the gardening club since the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. Students in the program grow, harvest and care for the garden. 

So far this school year, students have harvested cilantro, oregano, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli and are hopeful to use the harvests in their culinary club. Until then, students have brought home their fresh produce for their families to test – a tasty treat for all. 

The students unanimously shared that cilantro is their preferred harvest as it can be used in multiple ways from a garnish to a salsa. And, that it always tastes best fresh. 

Research from Harvard shows that while most children receive only 3.4 hours of nutrition education a year, maintaining a school garden necessitates that nutrition lessons become a consistent, built-in part of a student’s educational experience. Research has shown that it takes between 35 and 50 hours of nutrition education a year to change kids’ preferences over the long term.

A 2017 evaluation of FoodCorps conducted by the Tisch Center for Food, Education, and Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University found that in schools that provide frequent, high-quality opportunities for hands-on nutrition learning, students eat up to three times more fruits and vegetables at school lunch — regardless of whether or not that food was grown in the garden.

Our students have enjoyed the garden this school year because they can see their progress from start to finish. They have also enjoyed reaping the benefits of the garden (flowers, vegetables, etc.) Not only do the Think Together students utilize the garden but during the school day a life science class observes the progress of the garden as well. 

The club has big plans for its garden, including adding hydroponic systems and hosting a farmer’s market where they can pass out bags of free vegetables to members of the community.