Petersburg students earn awards for creating urban garden in midst of food desert situation

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Some Petersburg students earned some very impressive awards Thursday.

J.E.B Stuart Elementary School fifth, fourth, and kindergarten classes got green thumb awards. They’ve been busy helping in the urban garden planting all types of fruits and vegetables.

Thursday, the students got a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

2602e88e30e84ff3860594b3739fcbf3The program is a partnership of the Think Then Choose Wisely nonprofit, Virginia School to Farm Initiative,  Petersburg Public Schools, and Virginia State University.

“We have over 525 children from J.E.B Stuart Elementary,” explained Michael Jackson, President of Think Then Choose Wisely. “We rotated 50 at a time by different days work. We also have 145 kids we used to have from Peabody Middle School and about 45 from local churches and day care centers.”

They have created six acres of urban gardening space in an effort to address the food desert situation in Petersburg.

Petersburg has been classified as a strike one zone which elevates a community up on the USDA list as in need or lacking access to fresh vegetables and produce in the community.

The garden supplies produce to many restaurants and introduce students to the world of agriculture. People from the community purchase produce from there as well below market cost.

So far, over 525 children from J.E.B Stuart Elementary have participated in the program. They rotate 50 students at a time. Also, 145 from Peabody Middle School and 45 from local churches and daycare centers have participated as well.

Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to