Recently, Portland Public Schools made a recommendation that produce from all school gardens in the district should not be eaten because of concerns regarding lead. We want to provide information on the issue and assure parents that we are hoping for a resolution soon.
At Abernethy, we don’t rely on our garden to produce food for school meals because the garden is so small. We do have kids taste produce from our garden, which we will discontinue until more testing has been done. In the meantime, we will obtain our “tastings” produce from other local sources. We will also continue to source our Harvest of the Month foods from local growers.
We wanted to share a response from Growing Gardens, one of our partners and supporters, which you can find here: Our Official Response to Lead Concern in School Gardens
On August 22, Principal Hull sent the following letter to parents.
There have been a number of questions regarding the state of the garden produce for both the in school garden program and the GAP (afterschool club) in light of the Oregonian article this weekend. Here is what I know:
Based on a recommendation from the Oregon Health Authority, the district decided to ban the consumption of food grown in any PPS school garden until it is established there is no risk to anyone.
Dr. Fred Berman the head of OHSU’s Toxicology Information Center has been meeting with the district. Dr. Berman is also in conversations with Oregon Heath Authority, lending his expertise to the discussion. See more at: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/research/centers-institutes/oregon-institute-occupational-health-sciences/outreach/toxicology.cfm
PPS supports school garden programs and continues to gather information from experts in the field. After reviewing data from sites consulting with experts, the district will make further recommendations.
Here at Abernethy: The lead levels for the outside spigots were tested (See page 5 of the Abernethy Test Results). None of the faucets used show elevated lead levels.
We will work with the district to determine the safety of the garden. We will adjust the plans for the garden and await further direction. More information will be communicated through the district shortly.
The building itself: This summer has been a whirlwind. Major construction has been completed inside the building just in time to welcome the teachers back. Work continues on the roof and on the playground. There will be a lot going on this week, but we will be ready to welcome kids on Monday, August 29th. We look forward to seeing everyone for a fabulous new year.