Students at Nacogdoches ISD's TJR Elementary sample bounty from - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Students at Nacogdoches ISD's TJR Elementary sample bounty from children's garden

The TJR Children’s Garden was a pilot program initiated and led by Resilient Nacogdoches. (Source: KTRE Staff) The TJR Children’s Garden was a pilot program initiated and led by Resilient Nacogdoches. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Reactions were mixed over school grown kale at TJR Elementary. Some students didn’t care for it. (Source: KTRE Staff) Reactions were mixed over school grown kale at TJR Elementary. Some students didn’t care for it. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Others loved it and asked for seconds. (Source: KTRE Staff) Others loved it and asked for seconds. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Everyone involved gave the program a thumb’s up and it will be back next year. (Source: KTRE Staff) Everyone involved gave the program a thumb’s up and it will be back next year. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

A lot of East Texas gardens are paying off.

The region's most watched garden patch is the TJR Children's Garden in Nacogdoches.

The "trial garden to table lesson" was completed Thursday with a very special meal. It's the day vegetable gardeners look forward to the most.

"I just tried some food from the garden,” a student said.

The menu included roasted potatoes, sautéed kale, and chard. The question of the day was will the kiddos like the kale?

"Eww. I don't know,” said Paula Harshbarger, the principal of TJR Elementary. “Green is always iffy with kids."

"What do I think? Probably not” said Jim Lemon, the leader of Resilient Nacogdoches.

"I think they're gonna like it,” said Tina Mills, the manager of the YTR cafeteria

Most, but not all, of the food was gobbled it up.

"Ummm. Tastes good,” said a student.

"I think it's good,” said another student.

Back in November, the garden to table pilot project sprouted thanks to Resilient Nacogdoches. Volunteers provided guidance on how to prepare a garden spot for planting.  

"If we can teach 'em the value of growing food instead of buying it, we can be doing something,” Lemon said.

Harvest day was yesterday.

"It exceeded my expectations,” Lemon said.

The yield was bountiful.

"This is a lot,” a student said.

 The farmers discussed nutrients, ecosystems and of course, fertilizer.

"We put rabbit poop on the potatoes. But where I live on my farm I put cow poop,” a student said.

This morning, Nacogdoches ISD food service cooked up the pickin's.

"When they take part of actually growing it, it increases their interest in it, and they're more willing to try it, Mills said.

The benefits are as plentiful as the harvest. Educators like that.

"Everything from math and science to health, so that's super exciting,” Harshbarger said.

School turns to fun. Next year carrots will be on the list for planting day.

The TJR Children's Garden was made possible due to a large part of "Resilient Nacogdoches" volunteers.

Contact Austin Heights Baptist Church if you're interested in helping out the community-wide organization.

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