by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
The comment above is from Forest Park City Manager Angela Redding, explaining to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter why the city shut down a fruit and vegetable stand operated by an area preschool.
The garden originally started as an outdoor learning environment for kids who needed to get out in nature for a little bit.
“It was a place for children who were having hard days,” Little Ones Executive Director Wande Okunoren-Meadows tells MNN. “I know I go stir crazy if I’m sitting indoors for a long period of time. ‘You’re having a hard time inside? Let’s go outside, play in the dirt and find some worms.'”
Eventually parents got involved and the garden truly bloomed. Now kids grow squash, beans, radishes, bell peppers, watermelons and all sorts of greens, while also learning how to compost. Then on the first and third Wednesday of the month, they set up a produce stand where they sell their homegrown fruits and vegetables to parents and people in the community. Farmers from the West Georgia Co-Op also bring produce to help supplement what’s offered at the small stand.
The school is located in parts of Clayton County, an area where many people can’t afford fresh produce, so they offer steep discounts (two-for-one) when customers use food stamps.
So, a preschool had fruits and vegetables from their garden that they would sell at a discount to residents of a low-income community. The city’s response: shut it down!
“If we change the ordinance, then that means every person in a residential area could have a farm stand, and we could end up with one on every corner,” Redding said. Thank goodness we have government officials who are willing to stand up to such madness. We wouldn’t want to have fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables available on every corner.
The face of the enemy