Jo Fendrych, A Place to Grow, Inc.

Oklahoma PE teacher Jo Fendrych wondered how to positively impact her students’ eating and exercise habits. An avid gardener, she realized the answer was in the soil, and she started A Place to Grow, Inc., which constructs gardens for schools, low-income individuals, seniors and people with disabilities.

“If students could experience the joy of planting and growing their own food, this knowledge could help improve their quality of life now and as they grow older,” Jo said. “Although one school I worked at had a wonderful huge garden with irrigation and a greenhouse it took lots of money, manpower and many months to establish and this is not feasible for most of the inner city schools. For a year I kept thinking what would be the best way to introduce gardening to schools.”

Jo settled on “keyhole gardening,” where containers are filled with soil, cardboard, phone books, leaves and wood, with seeds sowed on top. There is also a compost bucket in the middle of the garden, which releases nutrients when watered.

“The gardens are designed to use 1/3 less water, easier to take care of because they are raised off the ground and incorporate recycling and composting,” Jo said.

A Place to Grow, Inc. has four gardens already installed and one more in the works for a local elementary school. Jo wants to expand the project to bring more gardens to low-income areas, schools and anywhere else that could use a space to grow.

A Place to Grow Inc. will use the funds from the Pollination Project to purchase a utility trailer to ease the transport of garden materials.  To learn more, visit their website.