Ground Works-Midwest/ South Dakota Ag in the Classroom
Established the fall of 2011, Ground Works Midwest began with the vision of a unique learning program for students and communities through garden beds. This vision grew when YES (Youth Eating Smart) camps were developed and showed promising results for students in local schools and community programs. Ground Works Midwest expanded once more when it became the lead agency for South Dakota Agriculture in the Classroom. These programs work together to create innovative, cutting edge, and inspired curriculum for students and communities across the Midwest.
Our Three Program Areas
Ground Works – Midwest (GWM) is committed to providing innovative education resources to elementary and middle school teaching garden programs that inspire students, teachers, and communities. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD, the non profit, GWM, provides innovative resources and technical support to elementary and middle school teaching garden programs within east central South Dakota, SW Minnesota, and NW Iowa. With the goal of 20 teaching gardens by 2020, the GWM school teaching garden network inspires learners:
* To excel academically
* To practice the skills of being a Great Neighbor
* To begin habits for personal wellness
* To engage in environmental stewardship
GWM is an independent network of teaching gardens. There is no affiliation with another program regionally or nationally. The network extends in 125 miles from Sioux Falls, SD to SW Minnesota & NW Iowa, thus lending the Midwest element to Ground Works.
GWM works with only raised garden beds for many reasons. These beds measure 4'*10'*24", are ADA compliant, better controls weeds and planting, are aesthetically pleasing, and ensure ease of access for both students and teachers. GWM partners with its own "garden engineer" who is a trained Master Gardener to develop the best building plans and materials.
YES camps exist to inspire a new way of thinking about healthy eating and the world we live in. Exposure to growing plants and agricultural awareness impacts the consumption of healthy foods. Hands on learning can change current and future behaviors and attitudes towards food, health, and agriculture. YES camp programming was designed to combine the important ideas used in both Teaching Gardens and South Dakota Agriculture in the Classroom. This 4 Module day camp setting feeds into lessons already being taught in schools through science, math, art, health, and wellness.
South Dakota Agriculture in the Classroom:
Ground Works Midwest has taken the already existing South Dakota Agriculture in the Classroom program and created the South Dakota Road Trip. This is an interactive virtual road trip that takes students and classrooms through the history and geography of South Dakota. All the while, students are taught the foundations of agriculture as it is rich in South Dakota’s history and current economy.