Gardens Give Hope, Excitement, and Choices

By Jenn Bonfili, Grow Pittsburgh Board of Directors and Managing Proprietor, B Gourmet

I’m pleased to share that with the most recent round of Learning Gardens installed, Grow Pittsburgh now supports 33 schools throughout Allegheny County! This means that 16,583 students now have access to a garden at their school. School gardens create a space where students learn how to make nutritious food choices, celebrate cultures, and foster an overall love for growing and cooking fresh food.

Won’t you join me in supporting these students?

Gardens provide more than a learning experience. They provide hope, excitement, and choices. Being raised in a single parent household, my family was all too familiar with food insecurity. Meal staples included powdered milk and canned vegetables and fresh options were an infrequent luxury. In the summer this changed when my mother planted a garden. More than the fresh produce that was now on the table, the garden filled me with new hope and beginnings. As a kid, you don’t have control over a lot of things, but a garden enables an important reclamation over one’s food choices and encourages self-sufficiency.

It wasn’t until adulthood that I fully grasped the benefit of my mother’s garden and that control over my food choices had on my life. As a parent, board member of Grow Pittsburgh, and the Managing Proprietor of B Gourmet, I am thrilled to be involved with the school garden program and work on addressing food insecurity through gardening education. My husband, chef Chris Bonfili, and I have volunteered in the school garden program for many years. Chris enjoys showing the students how to use the produce they grow to cook simple dishes for themselves and their families.
My fellow board members and I are raising funds to support Grow Pittsburgh’s efforts. Together, we have raised $5,000 to match gifts made in the month of June. With your help, we can reach our goal of $10,000 to support the school garden program.

Age 4, helping in my mother’s garden

I’m dedicated to keeping the tradition of gardening alive with my own kids and instilling in them the many benefits of growing and eating their own food. For the children who may not have the option of a garden at home, Grow Pittsburgh’s school gardens can help fill the gap, teaching intentional caring and control of one’s food. Today, my mother’s garden remains an important memory of my childhood that provided me with an opportunity to live purposefully and sustainably.

When you support Grow Pittsburgh’s school gardens, you enable food education and choices for our city’s youngest growers. Please join me today in helping to seed their future.

Give today to seed the future!