Class in the garden

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Third graders at Knox Elementary have successfully tried out their green thumbs.

Students in Tara Burks&8217; and Carolyn Pickett&8217;s classes have had a once in a lifetime experience nurturing a collard green garden.

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Pickett&8217;s students, Justin Ball and Kallisha Thomas, said it was fun watching the plants grow, and it was a learning experience.

The students said they also learned that nut grass, which they had to pull from the garden, would wrap around the stems of the collards and kill the plants.

A $500 grant awarded by the Department of Agriculture made the project possible. Some members of the department recently visited the school and ate some of the greens harvested from their garden.

Paris said Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks suggested the department fund such projects that promote healthy living, as Dallas County has one of the highest rates of obesity in the state.

Principal Joslyn Reddick said she is proud of the job the students have done and that students need to know where their food comes from.

Organic pesticides were used on the greens, which have been sold to the public for $3 a bunch and to Calhoun Foods grocery store.

Calhoun&8217;s manager, Jimmie Coleman III, said the greens were delicious, and the students did a good job of taking care of them.

A special sign is also displayed in the store that says &8220;these greens were purchased from Knox Elementary.&8221;

Sisters Virgie Smith and Ruth Brown and the Rev. James Jackson, pastor of Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, were at the school on Tuesday purchasing bunches of greens.

Brown said he likes his cooked with ham hocks, but has started eating them with turkey meat as a healthier choice. He said he also likes his greens cut small, but he looks to his wife to do the cooking.