“Planting Seeds for the Future” is an entrepreneurial/garden project based at Border Star Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri. Working with students in grades 4-6 “Planting Seeds” weaves together themes of financial literacy, small business development, creative writing, and critical thinking all centered on the student run and maintained urban garden. Upper Elementary students will have the opportunity to create their own businesses, with unique marketing, logos and sales ideas generated by the students’ research and production in raised garden beds. Students will maintain journals, create visual art and creative writing projects, conduct research, explore issues of health and wellness, organic gardening, sustainability as well as social and environmental issues centered on food. Planting Seeds seeks to implement steps designed to engage students in positive creative actions, analytical and critical thinking aimed at ending poverty and creating socially & environmentally conscious citizens. Planting Seeds for the Future is made possible by a generous grant from the United Services Community Action Agency and is sponsored through the University of Missouri-Kansas City Division of Diversity, Access & Equity.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


After much anticipation and many sleepless nights the Planting Seeds for the Future project has officially begun. The schedule is Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, three 40 minute back-to-back classes of 25 students each with set up and clean up time before and after. The Planting Seeds classroom will move between the Library, the computer lab, and out in the garden. Our scheduled first day in the garden seemed in jeopardy when an hour before start time it was pouring rain. By the first class the bad weather had given way to blue skies, high temperatures and high humidity – muggy to say the least. The conditions may have not been perfect, but the team of group leaders was amazing; diving in immediately unloading materials and setting up two 10x10 tents. And even in the hot conditions the students were engaged, enthusiastic and full of great ideas about the project ahead. While the students will physically plant seeds in a few short days, the first “seeds” were really planted today as students discussed the benefits of entrepreneurship, the riches of the garden and the possibilities of the future.

Thank you to the group leaders for your hard work and contributions. Thank you to the Upper Elementary teachers for your organization and assistance. And a heart-felt thank you to the Upper Elementary Border Star students for making the launch of this program such a success.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Planting Seeds" Team

The beginning date for “Planting Seeds” (PS) is fast approaching and pieces of this giant undertaking are quickly falling into place. While I have known several of my staff members for some time, this week the PS team/staff had the opportunity to meet together for the first time. I am incredibly excited about the team we have in place for the PS project. Split equally between male and female, the staff is made up of a richly diverse group of highly motivated and talented individuals. The four Group Leaders who will join me each day in the classroom are Phillip Brown, Benita Jones, Jeff Visser and Emily Brendage-Hill. Each brings unique talents and strengths: Phillip Brown brings his incredible artistic talents and sensibilities, a sharp intellect and his dedication as a Border Star parent; Benita Jones is a UMKC art student who brings a strong art background, unique vision and energy to the project; Jeff Visser is a UMKC student with a background in biology and business who brings to the project a strong entrepreneurial and financial sensibility; and Emily Brendage-Hill, an art student at UMKC who brings her passion for art, food, cooking and life to round out the mix. Each Tuesday and Thursday the five of us will have the opportunity to assist the upper elementary students of Border Star Elementary as they build their gardens, their businesses and their awareness of the social, environmental and economic impact of their choices. I truly look forward to “Planting Seeds for the Future” as a project, a philosophy and a reality.