Eatontown — The Eatontown-based non-profit organization Providing Hope, has provided a hands on organic gardening learning experience to Long Branch High School Students.
Providing Hope designs fun, interactive programs for the students to learn the key concepts of growing organic vegetables and herbs. As the program has taken off, and the students learn about a new local food source, Providing Hope donates each harvest to local food insecure families across Monmouth County. “Working with these students for the second year is a true joy especially witnessing their reactions while working in the garden and learning about their food source,” said Rosemary Sherman, Founder of Providing Hope. The students gather on the grounds of the Monmouth University Community Garden and are guided by a Master Gardener. They plant, tend, and harvest fresh organic produce; reap the reward of helping others by feeding the community; and enjoy the beautiful natural setting of the garden. The students have the opportunity to introduce a fresh vegetable source into their daily nutrition as they increase awareness for the prevention of childhood obesity. Providing Hope acquires plots each season within various gardens to educate local students while helping feed local families. The gardens are 100 percent organic which offers a healthy and safe harvest for everyone. Providing Hope emphasizes working with organic gardens to promote embracing nature, soil building to include homemade compost and using only natural, non-toxic substances if intervention is required. Students end the program with an understanding that organic methods promote a healthy ecosystem where birds, insects, plants, microorganisms, and people all reach a natural balance that is beneficial for all. Often gardening is seen as just hard dirty work and not as education. Providing Hope’s Grow Project focuses on educating the students while they build a sense of pride while they learn how to improve their health and the wealth of their environment. Providing Hope’s vision is to expand their efforts with feeding food insecure families thru different ways of organic gardening such as hydroponic and aqua phonics while continuing to educate today’s youth.