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STEM Takes Root In School Gardens, And Students Reap Better Grades

Juliana Urtubey

A student sits in the garden she has helped grow.

In the age of supermarkets, gardening is often viewed as a luxury rather than a necessity. We forget that backyard plots are actually a simple way to grow fruits and vegetables and supplement the food we buy.

Nearly 16 percent of Clark County residents are food insecure, and 64 percent of students in the Clark County School District receive free or reduced lunches.

To combat this, documentary filmmakers and philanthropists Ciara Byrne and Kim MacQuarrie started Green Our Planet, a crowd-funding website that has helped more than 85 local schools build gardens.

In addition to feeding children, the school gardens promote STEM education and teach students a useful life skill. Gardening has even been shown to improve test scores.

Green Our Planet will host its third annual School Garden Conference April 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Switch's Innevation Center, 6795 Edmond Street, free. 


Students will sell fruits and vegetables they've grown May 6 from 10 a.m. to noon at all four local Whole Foods Markets.   


Crestwood is now raising money for a second Garden Summer Camp.

Ciara Byrne, co-founder, Green Our Planet; Kim MacQuarrie, co-founder, Green Our Planet; Juliana Urtubey, special education teacher, Crestwood Elementary School

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Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.