Manatee School Gardens: Feeding More than the Mind


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, January 9th 2017 – The excellent academic training provided in the schools in Manatee is not the only reason why the county suits growing families. Many smart parents and prospective home buyers have likewise taken notice of the healthy foods local schools serve to children. As important, the kids also learn the ins and outs of farming through school gardens.

In the current 2016‒2017 academic year, the Food and Nutrition Services Department at the Manatee County School District is pursuing expansion of existing school farms. Besides adding more of such programs, the school officials are also strengthening ties with local commercial farms both as source of food supplies and agricultural technology for school gardens.

Hands-on Learning in Agro-Science

Manatee School Gardens: Feeding More than the Mind

One model of the county school district’s program is the Lincoln Middle School a short distance from the residential neighborhoods of Washington Park and Sylvan Oaks, which incidentally are promising communities for buyers of affordably priced Manatee homes for sale in Palmetto.

In this Palmetto school, four small plots of land are assigned to its students for hands-on agro-science lessons including the latest advancements, such as hydroponics. The student gardens also provide the school a food source to supplement those purchased from nearby farms, such as the award-winning Jones Potato Farm in Parrish.

More Local Produce in the Menu

This farm is notably among the local farms strongly supporting the “Farm to School” campaign in Florida. Under this program, the farms not only regularly provide fresh produce to schools but also help educate students about farming, what farmers do, and what food crops grow in Florida.

Related to this, Florida has been holding for the past four years a Farm to School Week. State posters are issued for this event to showcase the crops that each county in the Sunshine State is known for growing.

The Manatee school district, for its part, is increasing the food products sourced from local farmers and actively promoting these produce in the school cafeterias. This initiative is already at work at the Lincoln Middle School. From around December each year, the school holds a “Fresh from Florida Fridays” with the inclusion of local produce on its cafeteria’s menu.

Ideal Communities for Schooling Kids

In addition to Washington Park and Sylvan Oaks, Palmetto Estates is another residential community near Lincoln Middle School ideal for families with schooling kids. National homebuilder Maronda Homes is building in 30 home sites in this property, offering affordably priced new construction suited as starter homes. Maronda’s builds in Palmetto Estates are elegantly designed single family homes priced in the $100s and $200s featuring floor areas of between 1,300 and 2,000 square feet.

Choices of attractively priced new construction by Maronda are more plentiful at Willow Walk which is also located in Palmetto. A specialist in first-time home buyers, this homebuilder has 721 home sites in this 272-acre property which features conservation and lakefront lots.

The price quotes of Maronda Homes at Willow Walk start in the low $200s for builds with floor plans of about 2,000 square feet designed with three to four bedrooms. The amenities in this community include a swimming pool and playgrounds, aside from its proximity to the superb schools of Manatee County.