Cultivating Change: H.B. Stroud Elementary’s Garden of Good Health

At H.B. Stroud Elementary, seeds of transformation were sown in the hearts of students, sparking a journey toward healthier habits and a thriving school garden.

Championing Young Leaders: The Student Health Advocate Program

The Student Health Advocate (SHA) Program empowers students to become leaders in community health and fitness. This program equips them with the tools to inspire their peers and drive positive change. By fostering peer-to-peer engagement and leadership, it not only addresses health issues but also strengthens social, psychological, and mental wellness.

Identifying the Problem

The Student Health Advocates at H.B. Stroud Elementary in Athens, Georgia, recognized a common issue – not enough fruits and vegetables on their peers’ plates. Their ingenious solution? Establishing a sustainable school garden that not only provides fresh produce for the cafeteria but also extends a helping hand to families in need.

What are the Steps to Starting a School Garden?

Guided by their faculty advisor, Coach Ben Adams, P.E. Teacher, the SHAs orchestrated the school garden project:

  1. They set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.) goals to steer the process.
  2. They researched the ideal fruits and veggies for Georgia and how to nurture them.
  3. They compiled a list and procured materials for raised garden beds, including wood, soil liners, and composting supplies.

Planting the Vision

With a solid plan and materials in hand, the SHAs rallied fellow students to construct the garden beds and sow the first seeds. The entire school community joined the endeavor, resulting in six garden beds—one for each grade level at the K-5 school.

Students constructed the beds, filled them with compost and soil, and planted strawberries, lettuce, potatoes, and pea plants.

Nurturing Success: Growth Beyond Expectations

As the school year unfolded, Student Health Advocates nurtured their vision into reality. The garden blossomed, as did the students, engaging in hands-on learning experiences. Fresh, homegrown produce found its way to families in need, and will be used during the current school year in the school cafeteria.

Today, the Student Health Advocates at H.B. Stroud Elementary continue to inspire and lead by example. They’ve not only changed their school’s nutritional landscape but also sown the seeds of lifelong healthy habits in their peers.

Join the Movement: Take Action Today!

Explore our website for resources on starting your school garden and fostering a culture of health and wellness among young people. Together, we cultivate change, one garden at a time.


  • Kristy Bond

    Kristy Bond, MPH, spearheads all aspects of HealthMPowers’ marketing initiatives. She takes the responsibility of crafting messages to influence outcomes very seriously and approaches her work with integrity and passion. Her previous experience includes marketing and PR roles in various sectors, including the executive branch of state government, public safety, healthcare and a presidential library and museum. In her spare time, she enjoys reading absolutely everything, off-the-beaten-path adventures, and loving on her nieces and nephews.