Bloom Health Initiative

Rooted in the education of growing food, we cultivate nourishing environments that support the health of self, community, and land, economic development, healing, and creativity through urban agriculture. Bloom Health Initiative Program is a year-round educational gardening program for youth and at-risk/underserved children/youth. The focus is on growing food from seed to harvest, soil science, organic growing methods, innovative alternatives for food production for changes in climate, water conservation, whole foods nutrition and cooking with vegetables, vegetable preservation, healthy natural movement, alternative therapy for dealing with mental health issues and also fostering community mindfulness by employing the idea of reciprocity.  

The garden engages students by providing a dynamic environment in which to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn. It is a living laboratory where lessons are drawn from real-life experiences, rather than textbook examples, allowing students to become active participants in the learning process. Through the garden, students understand ecosystems, an appreciation for food origins and nutrition, and knowledge of plant and animal life cycles.

Interested in contributing to this program?
Check out our wish list items here.

The knowledge students gain from this program will give them a foundation for self sufficiency and sustainability, skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.

“I wanted to bring these educational programs to our community because I am passionate about kids learning to grow vegetables organically and understanding why it’s more nutrient dense. It’s so important for overall health. The habits need taught when they are young.”

rachel Alexander, Executive Director

Major Aims of School Garden Programs

Educational Aims

  • Increase the relevance and quality of education for rural and urban children by introducing into the curricula important life skills.
  • Teach students how to establish and maintain home gardens and encourage the production and consumption of micronutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.
  • Provide active learning by linking gardens with other subjects.
  • Improve children’s attitudes towards agriculture and rural life.
  • Teach environmental issues, including how to grow safe food without using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Teach practical nutrition education in order to promote healthy diets and lifestyles.
  • Provide students with a tool for survival at times of food shortages.
  • Show them how to maintain physical health by working in the garden as natural exercise. 

Economic and Food Security Aims

  • Familiarize school children with sustainable production of food, especially methods that are applicable to their homestead or farm and important for household food security.
  • Improve food availability and diversity.
  • Reduce the incidence of malnourished school children.
  • Increase school attendance and compensate for the loss in transfer of “life skills” from parents to children—especially in child-headed households.
  • Promote income-generation opportunities.

Major Benefits of School Gardens

Intellectual Development—Academic Skills

  • Support core academic training, particularly in science and mathematics—real world hands-on experiences.
  • Enrich core curriculum in language arts through the introduction of new learning topics.
  • Learn about the environment and promote sustainable development.
  • Learn scientific methods.


Psychological Development—Social and Moral Skills

  • Develop responsibility.
  • Learn the joy and dignity of work—foster work ethic.
  • Increase self-esteem and confidence.
  • Develop patience.
  • Develop a sense of cooperation and school spirit.
  • Learn respect for public and private property.

Jessica Burkett, Educational Director, Lead Teaching Mentor

Jessica has an educational background as a Forest School Director and Forest School teacher, Kamana Naturalist, personal training, yoga teaching, and natural movement, certified in nutrition, and thai yoga practitioner. She is the Outdoor Educator for TROY Alternative School for at-risk youth and currently homeschools her two teenage sons. She joined with Giving Gardens of Indiana as the Educational Director in the summer of 2019. She serves on the Tree Board in Columbia City. She is currently in Naturalist training through Wilderness Awareness School. Sharing her excitement for the world around us and nature with kids is what she loves to teach most. She is a teacher to the core! Jessica has been in love with gardening since her, and her husband were married and has grown something everywhere since (even when traveling in their schoolie!). Her passion for hiking has turned her into a forager and hobby herbalist. Taking care of the natural world and educating others in this area is one of her top priorities. She tries her best to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and share that example with others. Because of this personal mission, she is the “Green Team” co-founder for the Ignite Group for their ultra trail running series, with a mission to help “Green” up the races so that there is less waste generated by the sporting events. That has also led her to be a local food advocate and share the importance of seasonal, local consumption in a sustainable way, because not only is it healthy for you, but it also supports the earth and the local community and families. Being a part of Giving Gardens as Educational Director is all of her dreams and experience rolled into one!


Contact us if your school is interested in participating in Bloom Health Initiative.