We sat down with their President, Tighe Brown, to learn more about their organization, what inspires them and what we’ll accomplish together:
What year was your organization founded?
Big Green was founded in 2011 and built our first-ever Learning Garden in Denver, Colorado.
What is one of the proudest achievements of your organization?
I am amazed by our team. They are always finding new and innovative ways to support our network of teachers and creating incredible activities, lessons, and curriculum to connect kids to their food and the environment. This year though, we’ve had to stretch ourselves and our methods further than ever before. We’re ready for whatever this school year brings. We’re here to help teachers get their kids outside safely and engage in hands-on learning on-screen and off.
What’s one thing you’d like the OXO community to know about your organization?
Kids are at the heart of everything we do. We build gardens in schools, yes. But most importantly, we create healthy places where kids can learn and grow. We teach gardening, nutrition, environmental education, and health and connect it all to core subjects because we know our students’ potential is limitless, and we want to build a world where that potential can be realized.
What keeps you and your staff inspired every day?
Growing your own food is a rewarding experience for everyone, and one that makes a huge difference for our health and the health of our planet. More than that, gardens are healing spaces that provide peace, respite, and renewal. We don’t believe this is an experience that should be reserved only for those with the skills, space, and resources. Our entire team is passionate about providing that experience to kids across the country.
What will OXO’s grant empower your organization to do?
OXO’s grant is helping Big Green take our programming to the next level. We have a tried-and-true model that’s used in our 650 Learning Garden schools. We’re now expanding that programming beyond our Learning Gardens. With new virtual options for workshops, activities, curriculum, and best practices for school gardens and outdoor education, Big Green will expand our reach beyond our current network and create more flexibility for the schools and teachers we already serve.
What’s one book/article/podcast you’d recommend to someone looking to learn more about your cause?
I could talk about book recommendations all day! An old favorite is Food Rules, by Michael Pollan. I also love Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv to learn more about the importance of nature for kids. And I have to mention that we’ve been dabbling in podcasting and have created several great episodes — one in particular on the history of school gardens that was phenomenal!
What’s one thing the OXO community can do to support your cause?
Big Green wants every child to have the experience of gardening, cooking, and eating healthy food. We teach these skills to our students, but you can teach the kids in your life, too! It’s a wonderful way to connect with young people and build skills they need to lead a healthy life. We have lots of tools to help you — sign up at www.biggreenathome.org. And if you want to help support this work for low-income schools nationwide, consider joining the Seed Bank!