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Less with silver bells and cockleshells; more with administrator determination and student elbow grease. Three years ago, Thelma Davis decided Robert Lunt Elementary School needed a real garden. An experiment growing potatoes in wine barrels had proven to the community-minded principal that students would participate and have fun, while learning math and science.

She teamed up with Candace Maddin of school-garden nonprofit Create A Change Now, and they began a funding search. A couple USDA grant denials later, Davis and Madden turned to crowd-sourcing and sponsorships, eventually raising enough money and donations to build six raised beds filled with a variety of greens and vegetables.

After the ribbon on the garden was cut Friday, May 2, students and parents who belonged to the school garden club led dignitaries through the rows of produce, pointing out what they’d planted. The club has met monthly all year to design and cultivate the garden, achieving the neighborhood cohesion that was part of Davis’s plan.

When we started, there was nothing here,” said parent Marta Garcia, amazed by how quickly the produce sprouted. “Now… look at it.”

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In coming weeks, celebrity chefs will visit the school and show kids how to slice, spice and sauté the fruits of their labor. First up: Rachel’s Kitchen.

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