May 30, 2012, Roxbury, MA – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited Boston to celebrate the first anniversary of the MyPlate food icon and to announce a month of nutrition events and promotions to mark the occasion. Merrigan joined local officials, staff, and students at Dearborn Middle School in Roxbury for lunch and a tour of the school’s gardens.  Dearborn Middle School is putting the MyPlate message into action by promoting healthy food choices and healthier lifestyles. The Dearborn Middle School is using the produce they grow and sourcing locally to provide healthy options on the lunch tray.

“It was an exciting opportunity to be asked by USDA to be the host site for the MyPlate anniversary,” said Dearborn Middle School Principal Jose Duarte. “As a turn-around school, it’s important to celebrate and work on the whole child. Academic achievement is fueled by providing good nutrition to our students. It’s impactful to see our students understand the role a healthy diet plays on their performance both in and out of the classroom.”

Sadie Richards, who works with the Department of Food & Nutrition Services as a Food Corps Service Member, has been working with students at the Dearborn School since September, 2011.  Sadie teaches a gardening activity block twice a week, during which students have an opportunity to plant, water, weed, and compost, as well as learn about food systems and sustainability.  “The school garden is a gateway to experiential learning, healthy eating and sustainable living,” said Richards. “Students come alive as they emerge from the school building into the cultivated urban ecosystem, where they learn and teach their peers to grow and appreciate a variety of fruits and vegetables, many of which they have never seen growing or ventured to eat before.”  Read more about Sadie’s work HERE.

As part of Secretary Merrigan’s visit, Boston Neighborhood Network generously produced a short video spotlighting the Dearborn School Garden, titled “Students Garden for Learning and Health:”