This week, we’d like to spotlight our friends at The Local Investment Commission (LINC).
LINC is a non-profit organization that works with state and local government, businesses, community organizations, and civic leaders to improve the lives of children and families in the Kansas City region.
In 1992, LINC partnered with the Kansas City Public School District to offer affordable before and afterschool childcare, eventually expanding the program to Center, Grandview, Hickman Mills and North Kansas City school districts.
Today, the program is still going strong and students benefit from academic support through LINC’s tutor program as well as fun, recreational activities, including garden club.
SYG’s partnership with LINC “bloomed” in 2008, when the very first LINC garden being built.
Working with LINC creates even more opportunities for students to be involved in their school’s garden and because the LINC staff advocates for gardens to be built at their sites, we now have a total of 21 LINC gardens!
The Schoolyard Gardens Program has recently developed a LINC specific gardening guide that will be introduced to coordinators this spring. The guide is designed specifically for an afterschool program and the activities within it are intended to be led by a LINC staff person in the garden. The guide contains recipes, how-to gardening videos, garden curriculum, and a month-by-month action list of how to have a successful schoolyard garden, all organized into 12 weekly activities, 4 of which are dedicated to harvesting and consuming garden produce.
The Schoolyard Gardens Program also holds LINC specific trainings for garden coordinators that are approved through KDHE and DHSS, so LINC staff can earn clock hours for garden education.
COVID restrictions forced some of our LINC sites to put gardening on hold for a few growing seasons. This caused many of the LINC gardens to became overrun with weeds or for the lumber to get weathered, requiring the gardens to be cleaned out and rebuilt. LINC staff stepped up and joined SYG in the task of replacing lumber for 23 raised beds and topping off gardens with 32 yards of soil! One such garden that got a rebuild this past year was Foreign Language Academy (FLA).
After the clean out and rebuild, the gardens are looking fresh! Marlissa Collins, LINC supervisor for FLA, was surprised by how much she enjoyed gardening in her 2 new double stacked beds. She’s even looking into building herself a home garden!
A new member to the SYG program is Hartman Elementary LINC.
Mrs. Cheryl Burns, site coordinator at Hartman Elementary LINC, was eager to plant in the 2 new double stacked beds and was excited to harvest her mustard greens to make one of her favorite dishes, which she’ll share with staff and students.
Mr. Darryl Carrey, site coordinator at Holiday Montessori LINC , is working hard to get the garden topped off with some compost. He’s excited to get students back to growing after a few season of not being able to garden.
The Schoolyard Gardens team looks forward to supporting our LINC friends again this year. Thank you LINC for your continued partnership, for it enables us to further our goal of encouraging kids to eat more vegetables!