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Talk About Gardens!

Written by Shannon Pratt, 2021-2022 Talk About Gardens! Chair

Merriam-Webster defines change as a transitive verb that has many meanings: to make different in some particular; to give a different position, course, or direction to; to make a shift from one to another; to adapt to a new purpose. Adding Talk About Gardens! as a committee was a change for Junior League of Lafayette during the 2021-22 League year. Becoming a Chair of a brand-new committee was a change for me. The objective was clear, the budget was provided, but the timeline and logistics were to be determined.

The objective of the Talk About Gardens! Committee was to develop and maintain a strong relationship with a Lafayette Parish school that participated in the School Garden Initiative (SGI) program and the LSU Agricultural Center. Using League resources, the committee was to create monthly hands-on and experiential nutritional lessons. The Talk About Gardens! Committee decided to work with a 2nd grade physical education class at Corporal Middlebrook Elementary because it was the school’s first year in the SGI program. In a time of virtual learning and a no-visitor policy, the Talk About Gardens! Committee needed to think creatively about how to meet this objective. The committee collectively came up with the idea to make PowerPoint presentations and corresponding kits for each student. Each month, committee members would present the nutritional lessons virtually while the students had the PowerPoint presentations and kits in the classroom. Additionally, the Talk About Gardens! Committee provided $2,000 to the SGI program for two gardens to be awarded.

From creating recipe books out of 4x6 photo albums to discussing oven safety with Junior League of Lafayette branded potholders, the students were engaged during our monthly nutrition lessons & it was a fulfilling experience to volunteer and play a role in their education.

I am proud of the work that the Talk About Gardens! Committee did this year. The work we did helped us realize we can adapt to change, keep nutritional education within the League, and make a shift to create new committees to address other current needs in the community for the 2022-23 League year.

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