Students at Marie Curie Elementary in San Diego are learning first-hand about growing specialty crops, thanks to the Western Growers Foundation.

The foundation gave the school another grant, allowing the children to plant apple, orange, avocado, kumquat and grapefruit trees to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. David Murray of Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, San Diego, was on hand to help the students.

“In this day and age, kids play with computers more than they are outside,” Mary Ricci, the school garden's coordinator, said in a news release. “This gives kids the opportunity to plant and grow things that they aren’t able to do at home.”

The foundation, which has a goal of establishing similar gardens at all California and Arizona schools, has planted more than 475 of the gardens. In 2010, the foundation gave Marie Curie Elementary $1,500 to establish the garden, as well as irrigation equipment and teacher resources.

Mikel Pak, Western Growers communication director, said Murray and Andrew & Williamson donated more than 100 boxes of fresh strawberries; each child received a clamshell of berries.

Western Growers helps school garden project

Courtesy Western Growers Foundation

David Murray, an Oxnard, Calif., strawberry grower and member of Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, San Diego, helps children inspect their school garden strawberry patch. At Marie Curie Elementary in San Diego, children are learning about growing fruits and vegetables through a Western Growers' Foundation grant. Students chose fruit additions to their garden April 22 to celebrate Earth Day.