Dozens turned out Saturday to plant a garden at Galt High School in memory of freshman Kyle Guenther, who was killed after he was hit by a train earlier this month.
It was part of the Sacramento County Office of Education’s previously planned Dig Day, sponsored by Healthy Planet. The nonprofit works to provide gardens in schools for children while integrating hands-on learning experiences in the classroom that are tied to entrepreneurial ventures.
Ace Hardware and Hanford Ready Mix, Inc. donated supplies, irrigation and soil for the school garden, while Tower Garden demonstrated how to build an herb round, according to a Healthy Planet spokeswoman.
In addition to students, Healthy Planet staff and local businesses, more than 15 teachers and parents came together to help support the Dig Day.
In light of the school’s recent loss, Healthy Planet also helped the students plant the memorial in addition to the garden. Guenther died March 8, a day after he was hit by a northbound freight train in Downtown Galt.
Also over the weekend, the Galt High Warriors football team raised more than $1,600 at a car wash and bake sale to help the Guenther family, according to Principal Maria Orr.
According to Healthy Planet, its goal is to put a garden in every school in America, starting with Northern California. Healthy Planet, based in San Francisco, is expanding into the Sacramento area, which has well over 200 schools.
Healthy Planet founder Bryan Jersky was raised in Sacramento and feels passionate about the children in his hometown learning to grow and eat vegetables.
“Growing up with a mom who was a schoolteacher in Sacramento helped teach me to give back to communities,” he said in a news release. “Since food has become my passion, I would love to give back to my hometown, by planting gardens in all of the local Sacramento schools.”
Healthy Planet not only builds gardens, but also gives teachers skills and resources to integrate hands-on learning experiences in the classroom. It costs approximately $5,000 to build a garden in a school, along with introducing the organization’s hands-on nutrition education and entrepreneurship program.
The nonprofit company does not rely on public funding, but instead uses a crowd-funding model that connects schools with local businesses and communities.
Including Galt High’s, Healthy Planet U.S.A. currently has gardens in 11 schools in Northern California since the company’s initial U.S. launch in May 2012.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.