Sowing the Seeds and REAPing the Benefits: A Study of Mission Waco’s Urban REAP and the Promise of Garden-Based Education

Sessa, Christian
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Since its inception three years ago, Urban Renewable Energy & Agriculture Project (Urban REAP) sits on the cusp between the community’s difficult past that is marked by poverty, food insecurity, and struggling schools, and its budding rejuvenation. With its desire to connect with local schools, Urban REAP has a unique opportunity to respond to the community’s needs by empowering students and, in turn, their families to positively impact their community. Specifically, garden-based education at Urban REAP can provide fresh produce, promote healthy behaviors, and inspire care for creation in the students and families it serves. This thesis explores 1) The history and efficacy of garden-based education, 2) Creation care as an outcome of garden education and as integral to the Christian life, 3) Intellectual virtues as a form of creation care and a pedagogy that can excite disengaged students, and 4) The logistics in implementing garden-based education and ideas of curricula that embody creation care, intellectual virtues, and state standards.